PatsDraft.Com

Patriots 2016 Blog.

Pats Fans 2017 Blog.

By TOM

Greetings Pats Fans,

First off I just want to thank all the fans of this site. I have been promoting my books for sale primarily on this site. As a result, I have sold almost 500 books in the past year. Thank you for your support and patronage, both are greatly appreciated. I cannot tell you how happy it made me when I read that report. So thank you Draft fans and Patriot fans alike, and mostly thank you to all the fans of my books and website worldwide.

Pats Draft 2017.

By TOM

There is no doubt who had the best Patriots draft coverage this year. All the pretenders fell behind the preeminent expert on the NFL Draft from a Patriot's perspective. I had all the Patriots picks (that's right, all 4 of them;) in my player ratings. And to say they had a great draft is an understatement.

I had all four of the Patriots Draft picks rated at least a round higher than they were taken. I had three guys in my Expert Draft Tape Profiles (granted Garcia was in my Basham Tape;). It is a very rare Draft where every single player the Pats take were rated a Round or two earlier, rather than later, and this was an exceptional Draft. This might have been, besides QBs, the most talented Draft we've seen in ten years or so.

I had Rivers rated as a 2nd Round pick. "I'm [all about] work ethic," Rivers said. "No. 1, my faith in God is what got me here. And then, besides that, he gave me my work ethic. So I'm work ethic. I do more than what's just asked of me, and that's the type of player they get. A guy that he does more than what's just asked of them and he does everything that the coaches want him to do. I listen to whatever my coaches need me to do. I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it 100 percent." Patriots know that work ethic is as important as any other trait in the Draft.

Players also have to be accountable. They are no longer college kids. They are now adults with a lot of new found cash in their pockets. "Bo was awesome, man. He was like another father to me as far as when he came to Youngstown," Rivers said. "I mean, he took our team to another level. Just the little things that he focused on as far as accountability, doing all the little things right Ė I mean, those were the things that Bo emphasized and those were the things that Bo instilled in me. He's an awesome coach. I mean, he's a great dude, great guy. I could call him. Throughout this process, he was always there for me, my teammate Avery Moss and all the other guys at Youngstown that were going through this process as well." Rivers has all the traits the Pats want in players.

I also had him going in the 1st Round. "Derek Rivers, who we took a couple of picks before that, a defensive end," BB said. "[He] played competitively in the all-star games and in a good program there with Coach Pelini [formally at Nebraska]. Who we know very well. Bo does a great job with his players and his team. Derek's been in a good system, has been well-coached. Even though he's from a smaller school we'll see what he can do for himself here, as well, when all is said and done." They will be playing him as a D-End/OLB speed rusher on the edge.

I didn't think he was a 1st Round pick but a little bird told me that the Steelers loved him. I thought Rivers was so good that I had no trouble with him going in the 1st Round. And that was before the Draft, not after the Pats took him. In the end, the Steelers went with the stock, and took JJ's little bro.

There is no doubt that no one forecasted the Pats' Draft better than I did. I mocked only three need positions to the Pats. That's it: DE/OLB, OT, and TE (and they took all four;). Not only that but I was more specific. They needed a DE who could run the arc. Play like Sheard or Long, only faster. They need a pure speed rusher, who could put speed to power and push the OLT and/or ORT out wide. They needed a TE who run down the seam like Gronk, and get open deep. They didn't just need an OT, they needed a prospect they could develop into an NFL OLT behind Solder.

Plus, they all had to be Patriots' type players. "We have a lot of great relationships with a lot of college coaching staffs out there," Cesario said. "What they're being coached and what they're being asked to do, honestly, isn't what we're going to ask them to do. Maybe you're kind of looking at the program, maybe there are some certain fundamentals, and techniques, and how they work and how they run practice that you might say there may be some carryover.

"But I would say in the end once they're out of college. They're going to be in the Patriot program and the most important thing for them is to get in our program right away, kind of understand what we expect. It's not that what they did in college was wrong or we disagree with it, it's just how we're going to coach them, how we're going to prepare them and how they're going to be a part of our program. The biggest thing that these players have to do when they get here is get in our program and the sooner that they do that, on a multitude of levels, the better chance at least they're going to have to be competitive with the players that are in our locker room. It's a competitive situation and that's what we want to try and create." Division I, II, or III doesn't matter as long as they have the traits the coaches like to fit the system.

They needed a speed rusher, who could test the outside edge, and drag the Tackles out wide to open lanes inside. "When you're evaluating a player, you're kind of evaluating the athletic component and there's a playing style component," Caserio said. "The NFL is a tough game. It's a very violent game. It's a physical game. So if you're not tough, if you're not physical, then you're probably not going to last very long. You like to see guys that have a good playing style, that have an edge. I mean, it's a physical game, so it's running, it's blocking, it's tackling. This isn't patty cake, so you've got to go out there. It says something about their physical toughness and then they have the mental toughness, so you're putting everything together. Ultimately, it's when they get on the field, it's being able to perform at a good level and being able to perform at a winning level to help our team. I mean, that's the most important thing in the end." And the Pats always look at tough guys first.

The Pats also want some nasty on the O-line. " I would say physical," Garcia said abut himself. "Athletic. Just nasty." Scarr likes him already.

So they traded up from 96 to 85 for Garcia, and it cost them a 4th. "Where we were picking, we were at 124 and 141, I want to say. So, how many of those guys have a grade that we would say we're going to pick them here and we're going to feel comfortable with them? Or, we have a player that we like. Okay, let's just make sure that we get the player here. If we have to give up a little bit in order to get him, it's really just a matter of draft positioning and draft strategy," Caserio said. "So I think the focus is on the player. Let's figure out a way to get him here, let's get him here and if we can trade up and get him, great. And then part of it is, too, based on what other teams are doing behind you, so that's where kind of your pro scouting, your needs analysis comes into play. Each team is up there that's behind us, so we're looking at that going, OK, what are their needs? Maybe they're looking at the same player. Alright, well, why risk it? Let's sit there and wait and let's hope it happens. Or, you know what, it looks like there might be an opportunity for us to move in if a team is willing to trade." When you can catch a 2nd round talent at a need position in the 3rd, who dominated at the Senior Bowl?

And you just have to give up a lonely 4th? "I mean, we traded with Tennessee and Detroit," Cesario said. "We've got a great relationship with them and they were willing to do it. The trades really happen like that. I mean, there's a lot of talk, 'Well, they talk before the draft about trading up, trading down.' It's really you're looking up there going alright, who are the players you like, where are we picking, do we think the guy is going to make it there? Well, we're not sure. Let's see if somebody's interested in trading. At that point, it's all player-driven and player-specific, so we just try to make a good decision and get the player, try to secure his services and get him here." Sounds good to me. 

Garcia can play. He was the most physical and nasty OT at the Senior Bowl. He looked a little stiff a few times, like he should play ORT. But he did not give up anything to anyone at OLT on the field. While it wasn't always pretty, he was always successful. He needs a year to develop into an NFL OLT, and he could be the starting OLT in 2018.

Wise is a guy who reminds me of Sheard. "The player's body composition, his measurables, they're a part of it to a degree," Caserio said about Wise. "Ultimately, it's going to come down to player performance and then how do they utilize, if they have a strength, how do they utilize that strength or can we get them to a point where they can actually utilize whatever it may be - whether it's his speed, whether it's his quickness, whether it's his strength, whether it's his explosiveness, his power, regardless of the position. I think it's a part of the composition. You're evaluating that, but how does he use whatever assets and strengths that he has and can we get him to a point where it actually can be productive on the field? Everybody's got different shapes. Everybody's got different body types. I wouldn't say that's really a big part of the evaluation. There's not a lot of guys with that type of length, but what does that transfer over onto the field? Ultimately, that's the most important thing." He's a bigger rusher who showed he could run the arc, more than he showed at Arkansas, at the Shrine Game.

He was one of my favorites at the Shine (obviously, because I made a Tape;). "When you're watching a team. So as an example when you're watching Arkansas. If you're watching them two years ago, we were watching Trey Flowers. Who [else] is on the field? What year is this guy? This guy's a sophomore. This guy's a junior. At some point, you're going to have to do those players anyways. So your focus isn't on maybe that player at the time. But maybe a guy jumps out of the film a little bit and you're making the notes as you go. So you're prepared," Cesario said. "Let's say the guy is a sophomore [Wise]. You're watching Trey Flowers as a senior. Flowers is in the draft. We know this guy. We're going to have to go through the process and be ready for him. But this guy over here that's a sophomore, like is he going to come out as a junior? He may or may not, but you'll evaluate him." He played in the same system as Flowers. 

Arkansas plays a stack and shed system, where they grab an OL, and then read and react. "Maybe your focus isn't as much on that particular player. You're focused on maybe the seniors," Cesario said. "We try to stay ahead on that as much as you can. When the guy's a freshman when he walks on campus, do you notice him? I mean, maybe? If the guy's out there with the rest of the team and he's the star as a true freshman. You're probably going to keep an eye on that guy, especially in a conference like the SEC. It could apply to the Big 10." He will be able to play some 5-Tech as well.

But like Flowers, I saw him as a base D-end who can hit the quarterback. "Were we watching Wise when we were watching Trey Flowers?'" Cesario said. "I'm not saying that. But if you notice a few plays here and there, you make a note. We know what years these guys are. So when they're a freshman, you start to keep a file on the guy and they go in the database. I'd say probably in a two to three year window. There were some redshirt sophomores in this draft this year who have only been on campus for three years. Maybe they've only played one year of actual football. They redshirt and then they don't really play. They're a backup and then they start their redshirt sophomore year. So, are you ready for that guy? You might have to be. And if the guy's starting, he must be a pretty good player." He showed could hit the quarterback as a 5-tech as well.

So Wise, like Flowers, was tagged with the "lack of burst" moniker. Which wasn't true with Flower, and isn't true with Wise. It was the Arkansas "read and react" system that takes away the first burst, and makes DLs find a second burst. Wise doesn't play as low as Flowers, but he is more of an edgerusher than Flowers.

I liked McDermott so much I had him rated as a 3rd Round player in my first Player Ratings. He got pushed back into the 4th by the time the Draft started. He was a steal in the 6th. He has all the traits the Pats look for in an OLT. He has great size and long arms. He is a rare size agility athlete. He reminds me physically of Solder.

Like Solder, he played TE in high school. Which is a trait old school evaluators like BB love. He showed up at UCLA as a 235-pound tight end. "I was a tight end my whole life," McDermott said. "Then when I got to UCLA, they moved me right to tackle and then I did some tackle-tight end formations on goal-line and short yardage, my first two years. And then I was a full-time left tackle starter." He showed great size-athleticism playing TE and basketball in high school.

He had so many similar traits as Solder at UCLA and the Combine. "[Being a TE] helped me when I got to UCLA," Conor said. "They threw me right in the fire at Left Tackle. It helped me. My basketball skills and tight end ability helped me learn fast and helped me tremendously." Solder got that same treatment at Colorado.

Solder: 7.44 3-Cone Drill, 4.34 Short Shuttle! (O) 5.05, 32" Vert! And 9'2 Broad jump! He measured out at 6-7 and some change, 319-pounds, and has great 35 1/2" arms.

McDermott didn't quite match the Combine Numbers, butt he was pretty darn close, and was top five in the 3-Cone and Short Shuttle this year: 5.52 3-C! 4.58 SS! (O) 5.18, 28.5" Vert, and 8'9" Broad. Plus, neither benched at the Combine.

Conor was also a Solder-like 6-7 and some change, but only weighed 307-pounds with very nice 34 3/4" arms. "Just not strong enough to play in our league," a scout said. "Unless he finds more core (strength), I can't see him being able to survive against power." Solder went in the 1st because he was ready to be a starter, and was much more developed than Conor.

Conor is going to need a year or three to develop, like Cannon. "I feel like thereís room to grow," McDermott said. "And Iím excited to get to New England with a great coaching staff there and just get to work. Whatever they want from me, Iíll put my 100 percent effort in." Solder is playing on the final year of his Contract.

The Pats traded for a TE in the 4th to complete the triumphant of positions that I told everyone were their only real three needs. "James OíShaughnessy is a player who we actually did a lot of work on coming out [in the 2015 Draft]," Caserio said. "He was a player we did quite a bit of work on. [We] worked him out, spent some time with him. So he was available, and we thought it was an opportunity to add another player to our team." He has been more of a special teams player than TE for KC.

 

Jimmy-G Is The Best QB In The 2017 NFL Draft.

By TOM

They started Collins, Hightower, and McClellin at OLB. "Shea has done a good job," BB said. "Shea has worked hard, he's a smart kid, he runs well, he's athletic, he has a good set of skills, so he has been productive for us in camp and in the one game we've had." They all played extremely well in the Pats aggressive 4-3.

And most interesting, Cyrus Jones started at CB with Butler, Chung, and McCourty. "Well, we're getting tested," BB said about the secondary. "We got tested last week. We're getting tested this week. We win some, we lose some, but they're battling. They're out there every day battling so that's a big part of it. That group has been very consistent in terms of having those guys out there every day, keep working to get better so that they have improved. They are getting better and they've gone against some really good players." It will be interesting to see who wins the Nickell role.  

The most interesting aspect of the NFL Draft right now for Pats Fans is "Oh where and oh can poor Garoppolo go. Oh where of where can he go (1:37)?" Since all Mock Drafts are an exercise in futility before the Combine and free agency? I'm go do my own wacky thing, and show some trade scenarios for the Pats, like Jimmy-G to the Duh Bears for the 4th Pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.This pick is wacky. It's crazy! It might just happen. Word coming out of Chicago is that they love-love-love their little Jimmy-G. But what do they have to offer? Pick 36? Not when they are battling it out with Cleveland and San Fran. This bidding war starts at pick 12. What do duh Bears have to offer better than pick 12? 

Now you can call me crazy, but you have to remember that the Draft is about: team building, advertisement, fan excitement, parity, yada-yada-yada. But it is also about jobs. If you are the HC of the Bears, whose hands would you want to place your career in? A QB who has won games in the NFL, and has been trained by the best Coach in NFL history for three years? Or DeShone Kizer's hands? 

"I'm not enamored with any of the quarterbacks in this draft, that's No. 1," Casserly said. "No. 2, Garoppolo today is better than any quarterback in this draft. Now, he's had three years of experience. You look at him coming out [in the Draft]: the guy had a quick release, he's smart, he knows where to go with the ball. The guy is accurate, and he can make some plays on the move. You see all [his skills] in the NFL. His deep-ball accuracy, you'd like that a little bit better."

If I were a GM making picks for the Bears? I would not place my career, my dream job, on the brain of rookie QB. When I could grab a QB who has studied the every move of the best QB ever, for three years! Would you? More HCs and GMs get fired for drafting a rookie QB than for any other reason. The picking up of a great QB for a GM and HC is the difference between being fired and being geniuses. When these guys are making picks on Draft Day they are not just thinking about team building, this is their lives on the line. 

When you put your job on the line for a QB with less than 23 Wins in college? HC's tend to get fired. When you Draft a QB in the top ten who hasn't started 30 games in college? His transition to the NFL is likely to cost the GM their job. When you draft a QB who didn't have a 2 to 1 TD to INT ratio or never completed 60% of his passes? Then your rookie QB is highly unlikely to develop into an NFL QB who will. Though it does happen.

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Their are exceptions to the Parcells' QB Criteria. The drafting of a QB is the most exasperating and critical aspect of a GM and HC's job. He has to have the physical talent. He has to have the size and the ability to take a hit and complete the next pass. He has to have an NFL arm, and an NFL brain. Some of those are measurables. But as Bill Parcells knew, most are not. So he created a list of criteria that does a good job of trying to measure the immeasurables, which is an oxymoronic exercise (as immeasurables by definition cannot be measured). Here is my list of his Criteria:

1. Be a three-year starter.
2. Be a senior in college.
3. Graduate from college.
4. Start 30 games.
5. Win 23 games.
6. Post a 2-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
7. Tally a completion rate of 60 percent or higher.
8. He must be a senior, because you need time and maturity to develop into a good professional quarterback.
9. He must be a graduate, because you want someone who takes his responsibilities seriously.
10. He must be a three-year starter, because you need to make sure his success wasnít ephemeral and that he has lived as "the guy" for some period of time.

11. He must have at least 23 wins, because the big passing numbers must come in the context of winning games.

I don't buy the Senior aspect of the the Parcell's QB criteria anymore, because there has to be a certain level of talent as well. Money matters too much to the prospects. The top talents are going to come out after their Junior seasons. That is just the economic realty of the NFL now a days. So his criteria is a little bit out of whack, but only a little because of the money involved for these kids. But not in principle, wisdom, or design. 

Even Brady fit most of the criteria, and he had as wacky a college career as anyone ever did. Where he couldn't taste a start his first two seasons because of an upperclassman in front of him, and the betrayal of his HC the last two seasons. Which I do believe developed his competitive spirit, ability to study and take it to the field, and helped make him the best clutch QB in NFL history.

As a two year starter he almost meet every Parcells criteria including Graduating. He completed over 60% of his passes. He started 25 games in those two seasons, and won the Orange Bowl against Alabama. Which included coming back from two 14-point deficits (14-0 in the 1st and 28-14 in the 2nd). It included a game winning drive at the end of the game, and he threw for 369-yards and 4 TDs. I watched that game, and those guys who said he sucked at Michigan are just stupid. 

His 30 to 16 TD to INT ratio is not 2 to 1, but is pretty darn close. Parcells guidelines were likely absolute 35-years ago. They are not absolute anymore, but they are pretty darn close. He didn't have to deal with underclassman when he thought them up. He took Bledsoe #1 overall as Junior. So he had to adjust his criteria for the 1993 Draft just to suit underclassmen. 

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You have to look at circumstances as well, like Brady's. "I think it goes back to the fact that Drew Henson has been here two weeks and Tom Brady's been here three years," the HC of MU in the 90s Lloyd Carr said. "Tom Brady knows the offense. He's a talented guy. Tom Brady is a fighter, he's a competitor, so I don't sell him short at all." All four years of his college career Brady had to deal with wacky QB issues created by Carr.

Physically Brady never looked like he had the athleticism needed to play in the NFL, but he had it mentally like no QB we ever saw. "Drew has made excellent progress," Carr said. "[He] has gotten better almost daily. He's picked up the offense well. He is without question the most talented quarterback I've been around. It's just a matter of continuing to compete and continuing to prepare. He's going to play some this year because he's not just 'another guy.' He's got everything you want. He is a guy who really adds a lot of mobility to that position." But mentally Hansen was a train wreck. 

Carr never showed Brady the respect he should have. "Tom Brady has paid his dues," Carr said. "He has worked extremely hard. He's a bright guy. He has a good arm, and he has the respect of his teammates. I'm anxious to see Tom play. He's got all the right stuff." Carr fell in love with his top high school recruit and the rest is history: Carr was canned, Brady went on to win five Super Bowls, and counting.

He started 25 games and won 20 of them, because he had the Senior QBs in front of him. He also played in 4 other games. So while he didn't reach 30 starts, he did play in 29 games after essentially redshirted his first two seasons. He did have a TD to INT ratio of over 2 to 1 (16 to 7) in three of his seasons combined, including his Senior season (8 to 3 ratio). But he threw 10 INTs his Junior year. Which now is obviously the aberration. 

If you look at Parcells criteria it is really trying to measure the intangibles and  immeasurables that QB must have: Smarts, commitment, toughness, responsible, work ethic, maturity, Leadership, clutch-clutch-clutch play, etc. 

An NFL QB must be clutch. "He must be a senior," Parcels said, "because you need time and maturity to develop into a good professional quarterback." It is getting harder and harder to find a talented Senior QB. But this is really about his sticktoitiveness, commitment to team, and ability to work in a team environment through tough times. But not all QBs can stick for four years. They have to cash that NFL Draft Lottery ticket.

So not all Junior QBs can be expected to graduate. "He must be a graduate," Parcells said, "because you want someone who takes his responsibilities seriously." Junior QBs have to be on pace to graduate when they come out. But that is really a measurement of: smarts, the ability to understand complicated concepts, and the ability to read and understand books; In particular the play book. It is about understanding lectures; In particular coaches in the film room. And translate that knowledge to tests and classes; In particular the football field. Can he learn, study, and excel in test taking: on the field, in group meetings, and film study? Does he take his responsibilities if not obsessively than at least seriously, because class work is absolutely a responsibility in college. 

Unless there are extenuating circumstances, he needs to be the leader of the team for three or four years, and not one year. "He must be a three-year starter," Parcells said. "Because you need to make sure his success wasnít ephemeral, and that he has lived as 'the guy' for some period of time." So many things: leadership, captaincy, sticktoitiveness, courage under fire, trust of coaches, ability to adapt, trust of his teammates, winning (because a three year starter has to win to keep his job), etc. This is the main failure of Brady in college. But in the intangibles in the Parcell's criteria is trying to measure he showed all of them. 

WINS MATTER JUDGING QBs MORE THAN ALMOST ANYTHING ELSE. "He must have at least 23 wins, because the big passing numbers must come in the context of winning games." Brady was never allowed to be the fulltime do or die starter for a full season, yet he still led them: to a 10-3 record in 1998, was 7 and 1 in the Big-10, and beat Arkansas in the Citrus Bowl. He was also 10-2 in 1999 (including an Orange Bowl win), in the most tumultuous seasons of his life: where he kept getting yanked out of games, not because of performance, but because his Coach is nuts, and kept his word to a freshman QB who sucked his way out of football. 

But what it did do was force Brady to dig their way back into games in the 2nd Half, and comeback to win over and over. "The 1999 Michigan Wolverines started off 5-0, including a 26-22 win over Notre Dame, and a road win against eventual powerhouse Wisconsin. Against Michigan State, Brady was not chosen to play [start] the second half [because Lloyd left Hanson in to start the 2nd Half, and he sucked. I watched this game]. However, he was reinserted into the game with Michigan down by 17 points, and he nearly led Michigan all the way back before losing 34Ė31. After a 300-yard passing game the following week, Carr went exclusively with Brady for the remainder of the season. Brady went on to lead Michigan to multiple 4th-quarter comebacks, including a remarkable 31Ė27 win against Penn State, and leading them out of a close game against Indiana, 34Ė31." He was the fiercest QB in the 2nd Half for his last two seasons at UM, which made him the most mentally tough QB in the 2000 Draft.
Parcells' criteria is about measuring the immeasurables: heart, ability to fight through every obstacles, taking the hits and injuries that hurt and continuing to fight, etc. So while Brady did not meet his criteria perfectly in college. He was ironically trained in college to meet the intangibles of Parcell's criteria were meant to judge, better than any QB ever has while at Michigan. He not only had to fight through a dumb freshman QB, who couldn't play, he had to fight through a stupid HC who kept putting the idiot QB back in the game to disrupt and destroy the offense. 

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Now I do believe that this rant started off about Garoppolo. He was a four year starter (which obviously means he was senior, though I could find no evidence that he graduated, or didn't). He completed over 60% of his passes. He was over a 2 to 1 TD to INT ratio by 16 TDs. He called his own plays (smarts). He played for two HCs (which means he was smart enough to study and learn two systems). He started every game while he was in college (which means he was smart enough to start as a true freshman, and tough enough to play through injuries). He actually won exactly 23 games in college. 

He really met all of Parcell's criteria, and like Phil Simms he went to a small school (Morehead State). "Garoppolo to me is not a special guy [athletically] who will just raise the level of everybody around him. Like for example, a Luck. That's a rare guy," Casserly said. "But yet I do think all the characteristics I talked about, the ability to be accurate, get the ball out on time. I think he'll do a great job there." Plus he met my criteria of: taking a head shaking hit, getting up off the ground, and completing the next pass.

But most importantly, he has been trained for three years in the best QB-College in football history! The Patriots, with BB, McDaniels, and TB12 tutoring him. When he finally got to start a game he was spectacular. In his two starts, or rather wins, he was 43 for 63 for 502-yards and 4 TDs. Plus, he was near perfect on 3rd downs in those two games. Which is a QBs main job in the NFL (well, besides wins). He averaged 252-yards and 2 TDs in the two games he started. 

No QB in this Draft matched Parcell's criteria better than Garoppolo in college. Plus, they don't have his NFL experience learning behind the best QB ever! Being coached by the best HC ever! Or have won two games, and faced an NFL pass rush on 3rd and long and consistently converted them. 

Okay! In a momentary lapse of reason, I was so blown away by his composer on 3rd down in those first two games that I would have traded Brady right then. But in my defense that was before the greatest NFL game ever played. And, before I thought Brady could legitimately play for two and maybe three more years. 

So the idea that Garoppolo isn't the top QB available in this Draft is ludicrous. If the Bears GM Pace and their HC John Fox want to keep their jobs? There is only one player available in this Draft who can instantly do that for them, and he is an Illinois native. 

USA Today ranked all the GM and HC combos in the NFL. Now I don't know how much validity the article has (I mean, Browns 24? Chargers above the Dolphins)? I mean, a team in the Super Bowl, the Falcons, 19th and a non playoff team, the Vikings, 7th is just dumb for opposite reasons. But it was interesting. They ranked duh Bears 16th (I mean, Bears 16th is dumb as well). To not start start with Cleveland, 49ers, and duh Bears as 32, 31, an 30 is just stupid.

Anyway, who do think would get Pace and Foxy into next year's top five GM-HC Combo List? Watson? Trubisky? Kizer SŲze? Wrong! The correct answer is Jimmy Garoppolo. Because Garoppolo is the only QB in this Draft who can save these guys jobs this year. 

 

Pats Defense: Trey Flowers.

By TOM

I thought Flowers has had the best game at D-end of all the Pats. "He's competed well," BB said. "He has definitely got some good skills. He has shown up inside and outside, both of the defensive tackle positions in some passing situations and at defensive end. Again, we'll evaluate the consistency, not one game or one play, but over a lot of snaps here in preseason, and training camp, and preseason games and see how it all plays out, but whatever role he has or whatever role anybody else has will be what that player earns based on their performance. We don't hand out roles here, so I don't know." Even though Sheard had a good game, and played against the starters.

Flowers has only played in two preseason games for the Pats. "Trey was with us in training camp last year," BB said. "[He] was kind of a little bit limited, never could quite get his shoulder probably to 100 percent, or whatever it was, and then went on injured reserve and missed the rest of the year. He fought through it, he played, but wasnít really able to explode with it like he is now. That was a strength of his at Arkansas and for not a tall guy he has long arms, he has some length as a player even though his stature is not exceptionally long, but he has long arms and he plays the run well. Heís a tough kid. All of those guys [are]: Rob, Jabaal, Chris, Shea, Geneo, Rufus. Theyíre all pretty stout out there. [He's] got good playing strength, good length. So, that end position in the running game, so far, Iíd say that hasnít been the major problem for us. Itís been everything else." I thought he was the best D-end in both games.

He just has that knack for getting past blockers and into the backfield when lined up outside and inside at D-tackle. "He didnít play a lot inside in college," BB said. "I think there was one game against LSU when he was in there, but for the most part he was on the edge, so thatís an adjustment that heís making. Heís definitely getting better at it. He has quickness and again, the play-strength, and I would say the mentality to play in there. Itís just going to come down to experience and getting comfortable. Itís a little bit different. Youíre not working against as long of a guy usually at guard, and maybe not as athletic a guy as the ones that play tackle, but there is less space. The center is a lot closer to you. When youíre rushing against a tackle there is usually nobody else involved. Itís just the end and the tackle. When youíre inside, its some kind of three-on-two, so there is another guy in there." He was terrific as an inside rusher against the Saints.

He missed all of last season recovering from surgery, but was able to recover and get a step up on this season. "Trey's had a good spring and a good camp so far," BB said. "We didn't really get to see a whole lot of him last year. He fought through an injury and really couldn't be as effective as what he wanted to be, so we ended up having the surgery done on the early side so he was actually able to get into the spring quicker than guys that would've had it, say, at the end of the season so he was ahead of them by three, three-and-a-half months, whatever it was, so he was able to be a full participant in the offseason program, full participant in the spring workouts, so I think the fact that he went on Injured Reserve so early last year is benefiting him this year because he's had a full year of training and a full year of the installation and all the preparation going into the season. It's good to have him out there. He's done a good job for us when he's had an opportunity to play. He played some in the kicking game. He's got obviously a lot of things he has to work on, too. But he's shown up pretty much daily in one way or another with some positive plays. He's a hard working kid so hopefully it will continue to get better." All that hard work and sacrifice really showed up on the field against the Saints.

He doesn't have all the measurements 1st round picks have, but he has some of the best hands on the team. "He's competed well," BB said. "He has definitely got some good skills. He has shown up inside and outside, both of the defensive tackle positions in some passing situations and at defensive end. Again, we'll evaluate the consistency, not one game or one play, but over a lot of snaps here in preseason, and training camp, and preseason games and see how it all plays out, but whatever role he has or whatever role anybody else has will be what that player earns based on their performance. We don't hand out roles here, so I don't know." Plus, he has great explosion in his legs.

I don't know what his forty was, but he has great speed on the field. On one play in the 2nd quarter, he lined up as the blindside DE. They ran the play action to his side, and the QB took off to the other side of the field. He was able to hustle all the way over to the far sideline, after holding the point on the play action, and make the tackle off the fumble caused by Harmon.  He just reads and reacts faster than any of the other D-linemen off the misdirection play action, and was the furthest of the four from the play. 

 

Pats Defense: 2nd Quarter Vs Saints.

By TOM

Pats come out to start the 2nd quarter in their aggressive 4-3. They line up in a 6-2 with Richards up at ILB. Oddly they had in Brown, Knighton, and Long in on the D-line, and Trey Flowers. They had McClellin still in at OLB. They also had Kamu Grugler-Hill in at ILB. I suppose having some of the new guys in makes sense, to give them some more live experience in the scheme.

Flowers is in at D-end. He burst inside the OLT and the OLG goes to pick him up. He spins inside of him and burst right at the QB. You can't teach moves like that. He didn't really uses his hands, he just broke out the power spin at the exact right time, and left the OLT and OLG in the dust. And those were the two O-linemen who started the 1st quarter. Then he was charging full speed to the QB. The QB made him miss with a feint to the left, and then sprinted to the his right. Flowers recovered, and gave chase hard enough to make the QB throw the ball away.

2nd and 10, Pats come out in a 2-4 Nickel with Brown and Knighton inside. Brown has a nice swim move over the OLG. But he breaks to the other side. Knighton falls down and traps everyone on the wrong side, and Spiller beats Coleman to the corner and turns up field. But the O-lineman who tackled Knighton was called for a chop-block.

2nd and 10, the Pats go into the 2-4 Nickel with McClellin standing up on the blindside, and Long on the strongside. McClellin bursts inside the OLT, but it is an off tackle run. He gets a hand on Spiller, but falls down. Brown and Grugler-Hill make the tackle, and Long jumps on Spiller as well.

3rd and 23, Pats in a Prevent.  Brown Swims over the OC, but it's a screen so the OC runs outside. Brown gets picked up by the OLG, sees the screen, and then grabs the OLG so he can't get outside. This was a great play by Long. He leaped up and almost tipped the screen pass. Then turned to see that the RB had to turn around and come back for the ball, as the QB had to throw around him. So he turned and charged and tackled Thomas just past the LOS to force the punt. Then Cyrus Jones had a rookie punt return, where he ran 70-yards sideways and zero-yards up field.

Pats come out in a 4-3 with McClellin up on the line on the blindside. They run playaction to the blindside, and most of the front seven falls for it. But Long maintains discipline on the strongside by himself. He gets out in space and covers the QB like he is playing basketball. He hits the TE who snuck back against the grain. But that only sends him further outside than he can reach as the QB throws it to the TE. Harmon flies in, hits the TE, and pops the ball out. Flowers, who hustled all the way over from the blindside to get the tackle in on the guy who recovered the fumble, was the best DE in this game.

2nd and 6 Pats match up in a 4-2 Nickel with Richards up as the Sam. Saints run it. Flowers moves inside, he grabs both arms of the OLG, and then slips past him. The OLG tries to tackle him from behind with an illegal chop block, but Flowers is still able to dive at the RB and slow him down a little. This allows Richards to follow Flowers through the hole he created and tackle the RB behind the LOS. Kuhn fell down as well. Then both Flower and Kuhn get back up and help Richards take Spiller down.

3rd and 7, Flowers and Long line up on the strongside, with Flowers inside and Long standing up outside of him. That is a very interesting scheme for 3rd downs. Flowers gets stuck hand fighting at the line, but Long is able to break inside the ORT. He breaks free to the QB, but the ORT grabs him from behind with an obvious Hold that allows the QB to throw. Coleman was able to dive to the side of 83 and knock the pass down. But, the refs call the obvious Hold, and the magical hands to the face by Coleman that no one saw.

So off setting penalties make if 3rd and 6 again. The Pats line up in a similar fashion with Flower and Kuhn inside and Long and McClellin standing up outside. They get a good rush. Two blitzers run past the QB, and Long is a half second late getting to him. He lofts a beautiful pass down the sideline to 13, EJ Biggers had good coverage, but the QB put it on his outside shoulder perfectly.

1st and 10, Pats stay in the 2-4 Nickel, but bring Richards up into the box to give it a 4-3 look, with Long and McClellin standing up. They run a sweep to the blindside. Long holds contain on the backside again, and when the RB runs back he makes the tackle. Kuhn gets in on the tackle as well. Then the refs decide it is time for some face time again. They call a Hold on the Saints.

1st and 20, the Pats go back to the four man line and finally get Flowers back in the game. Flowers breaks free from the OLT with a nice spin move inside. But the QB throws the ball to Thomas and he drops the ball.

2nd and 10, and the refs throw a flag again. After a false start it is 2nd and 25. Pats go into a four man front, but have Long and McClellin standing up. Both are able to drive the Tackles back to the QB. So he has to dances to his right. McClellin shoves the OLT's feet into the QB's feet as he tries to throw, and he falls to the ground as he misfires to 34. That was nice pressure to cause the incompletion by Long and McClellin.

3rd and 25, the Pats front four stays the same, but the rest of the defense goes into a prevent. The D-end gets nice penetration again, but the Saints had setup a screen. Flowers lined up as the strongside D-tackle, and was the only defender to read it. He got his hands on the RB as he tried to catch the ball, but he dropped it. Another great play by Flowers where he just reacts mentally quicker than everyone else to force the punt.

 

Pats Offense: 2nd Quarter Vs Saints.

By TOM

Patriots come out 1st and 10 to start the 2nd Quarter hoping to do better. "Like I said after the game, we have to get off to a faster start," Garoppolo said. "That was pretty clear, we didn't start the way we wanted to, but you know it's something we need to work on. And I think that coming out here to practice and having fast starts and the periods and everything it's contagious, I guess." He did play much better in the 2nd quarter.

This play shows the difference between when the starters leave and when they are in. Garoppolo drops and sees that no one is covering Dopson. He whips the ball at him quick. Dopson ran a quick 5-yard out. He turns like he is going to go out of bounds, and then sees that the DBs had dropped back into a deep zone like they were practicing a Prevent defense. So he turns and runs up field for ten more yards and hops out of bounds untouched. It's difficult to glean anything in this game after that play.

The Pats still have the starting O-line in, except Andrews has been replaced by Stork. Some think Stork might be released if Andrews wins the starter role. But that is nonsense. Stork is still being paid 4th round money and can play four positions on the O-line. He started two games last year at ORT.

1st and 10, Pats come out in a twin-twins Singleback. Bennett goes in motion to the right. They run Blount behind him. Cannon and Bennett seal the end of the line, and Blount is able to burst past two defenders to turn the corner. Then he cuts behind a Dopson block to get the 1st down. Harper has a nice block down field as well.

1st and 10 Garoppolo in the 4-Wide weak shotgun. They send two guys off the edge, and one goes untouched. Garoppolo has to retreat for his life as he raises his arm to throw the ball. He hit James white on the well set up screen. "Jimmy did a good job of getting the ball off," BB said about this play. "They were in a blitz and Harper was coming off of the edge. So we did a good job of getting the ball around them. Shaq got out in front and made a good block.  Stork made the defender, the linebacker sort of ran around him, and that opened up a little space. But I'd say really the key block on the play was by Dobson. Who got the linebacker that was in coverage on White. It was certainly one of our better executed plays of the night, offensively." It should have been a touchdown.

Dopson did more than just his job on three straight plays. Shaq took the legs out of the second last defender, and Bennett had the final block on the edge that sprung White, and allowed him to complete the 56-yard run. "He made a tremendous play," Jimmy-G said. "Actually, a lot of guys made tremendous plays on that. The linemen got downfield, had some nice cut blocks and everything, and it was a well-designed play. I thought he was in, personally, but tough call." But the refs spot the ball at the one-friggin'-inch line. Seriously?

So the Pats handed it to Blount and pops it in easily with the Pat starting O-line going against the Saints backups. He just lowered his head behind them. Then the Pats decide to go for Two. They come out n a 4-Wide Singleback. They hand it to White, but he gets hit on the side by the OLB before he reaches the LOS.

Pats come back out 1st and 10 empty. The Pats still have four starters in on the O-line, and Stork. Garoppolo has time. Dopson lined up in the left slot, and the Saints still in that deep zone. When he turns to look back at Garoppolo all the cover guys have retreated past the marker 10-yards down field. The Saints are practicing their prevent zone. Garoppolo 3-steps, plants, and throws quickly enough to Dopson to make you feel okay. All three linebackers turn and charge him quick enough to stop him from getting a 1st.

When Dopson is healthy, he produces. "You know, Aaronís had a good spring and a good few days here at training camp," BB said. "I think weíve seen that from him before. Iíd say Aaron just, for whatever reason, hasnít been able to consistently be on the field and do it. You know, when heís been out there heís looked good a lot, but he hasnít always been out there for one reason or another. Hopefully. I know heís training hard, looks like heís in good condition this year. Hopefully heíll be able to stay on the field and continue to improve. I think thatís really the key, you know, itís not just being healthy, but being healthy to practice and improve. And Aaronís worked hard, heís made some good catches, so hopefully he keeps climbing in that direction." If he stays healthy he will help Garoppolo win the first four games.

2nd and 2, the Pats go power with a Twin-TE Singleback. The Pats block it well at the point, but two D-linemen slip into the backfield and turn inside to hit Bolden, who is trying to run a Dive. He fights for a couple of yards. Shaq sealed the DT, but he was able to shed him and hit Bolden. Solder slide past the big DE-63 and hit the LB, which allowed the DE to loop around and hit Bolden first.

3rd and 1, Pats go into a tightly wound I-formation. Dopson goes in motion to the strongside like a TE. Develin hits the line hard, and Blount cuts outside his block between Shaq, Bennett, and Cannon blocking very well on the strongside, and gets the 1st.

He is much better RB than given credit. "Heís been a four-down player for us," BB said about Bolden. "Heís played the role of big back, heís played the role of sub back, and heís played well for us in the kicking game on fourth down. So, it might be hard to increase each role. Itís possible, but I think it would be hard to realistically to do that. But maybe that needs to be done." If he wasn't so valuable on special teams he would have gotten a lot more carries a long time ago.

Pats come out in a Twins-Twins Singleback, and Bennett goes in motion to the Blindside. They hand it off to Blount who runs a very slow sweep to nowhere. The entire O-line gets run over, and every single one ends up on the ground. That was the worst calls and execution of a play so far in this game. Blount actually did a great job only losing a yard.

2nd and 11, Pats come out in a 4-wide Weak-shotgun. They set up a WR screen. Garoppolo gets the ball to DeAndre Carter with nice quickness. But he had gone in motion to the left and shifted a lot of defenders to that side. He was luckly to reach the LOS.

3rd and 11, 4-wide Strong-shotgun. Bolden motions into the backfield to give Garoppolo two chippers. Both White and Bolden get in very effective Chips to help out Cannon and Solder. The inside guys block it very well. Garoppolo has plenty of time, and is able to step up and throw a bullet to Mitchell. But he is coming-back too fast and slides down short of the marker.

They decide to go for it on 4th and 2 just past midfield. This is one of things that makes Preseason football so much fun. They stick it all on Garoppolo's shoulders by going Empty. Saints bring six guys up to the LOS. So if they all come one of them cannot be blocked. They bring four. Garoppolo looks left, both guys are covered. He turns to the middle and sees the D-end running around Cannon. He makes a great quick move to avoid him. He also avoids the DT who got the outside shoulder of Thuney and was bulling Thuney back into him. So he took off. He got outside with his head up, but he was running all the way. He pump faked a little, to try and freeze the three linebackers now moving towards him. It worked just well enough for him to dive through 54 for the 1st.

I would have liked to seen him throw the ball on that pressure down. "On the scrambling question, we talk to the quarterbacks all the time about different situations with that being one of many-many that we discuss," BB said. "So, they've been taught about kind of what the guidelines are. Every play is different and every situation could be a little bit different. There is not necessarily, I would say, one rule that fits every situation, but again there are some general guidelines so that's how we try to coach it and I think they understand that. I'm saying all of the quarterbacks, Tom [Brady], Jacoby [Brissett], Jimmy and they're trying to do the right thing or the best thing for the team, as they should, and like I said, I think there are sometimes a number of things to consider in that conversation and we've talked about that at length." However, when all else breaks down it is nice to have a QB who can run.

Pats come back out 1st and 10 in a 3-wide Strong shotgun. This might have been Garoppolo's best throw of the game. This was the throw that restored all my faith in him after the 1st quarter. He ran a little play action to Bolden and looked right. Most of the rushers fell for it, which allowed the Pats O-line to occupy all the rushers completely. Garoppolo turned to the middle of the field as a DT was still trying to tackle Bolden. Then he turned all the way to the left sideline, going from sideline to sideline. He spotted the One-Armed Bandit (is that in poor taste?). He took a couple of extra steps forward and throw a beautiful ball to Mitchell on the left sideline. Mitchell had found a soft spot between the linebacker and safety, and Garoppolo put it in there on the opposite side of Mitchell's body as the safety was on.

That was a great 24-yard pass and catch. "Malcolm's had a solid camp [and] spring," BB said. "He's picked up some good techniques in terms of route running. He had some of that at Georgia last year when Coach Schottenheimer was there, so it was a little more of a pro offense. Last year you could see his development in that area and I'd say he's continued that since he's been here. So, he's making progress there. We'll just take his situation here day-by-day and see how it goes." He needs to get back on the field soon.

Pats come out 1st and 10 inside the twenty in a power left Singleback. They run a misdirection play action. The entire offense goes to the left, except Develin. Garoppolo runs play action to Blount, and waggles to the strongside. But 41 had blitzed up the gut and was the only defender who wasn't fooled. He hit Garoppolo as he threw. The pass went into Develin's feet. He wiped out as he tried to catch it off his ankles.

2nd and 10, 3-wide Singleback. They hand it off to Bolden, but they don't block 90 and 54. They take Bolden down behind the LOS. 90 just ran past Stork, and 54 ran past Thuney. It looked like Stork was suppose to get to the second level and block 54, and both Thuney and Stork went after him instead of blocking 90, and both missed 54 as well. That was a clear mental error by Stork or Thuney.

2nd and 12 Pats in a 3-Wide shotgun with both RBs winging Garoppolo. Garoppolo 3-steps, and then hops up into the pocket like he is going to throw. The O-line had blocked a perfect pocket. But he holds the ball and hops back out of the pocket and takes off to his left. He turns his body to the wrong side, and throws horribly across his body. That was his worst throw of the game to force the field goal. Pats-17.

The Past come back out 1st and 10 with Garoppolo padding his stats a little in the 2nd quarter, and is now 9 for 15 with 146-yards. They go into a Twins-Twins Singleback. The O-line wins nicely against the D-line. The hand it to Blount. He dances a little too much at the LOS, but is able to pop forward for four. Thuney and Stork double team the DT at the point. Solder blocks down on the other DT. Bennett gets pushed back by the OLB, but holds on long enough for Blount to cutback behind him.

2nd and 6, Pats go 3-Wide Singleback. Garoppolo looks right as he drops, and then snaps back to the left and hits Mitchell in the hands. He makes a nice move to make the CB miss and gets the 1st down. Then he makes a great move to make the safety miss, and heads down field for more. He gets another 8-10 yards off his double move after he catches the ball. The Saints brought four, and none of the Pats' O-linemen missed a block.

1st and 10, Pats stay 3-wide Singleback and send Carter in motion again. They give it Blount. He hops around Kline and Stork, and rams into the line. He falls forward over midfield, and the two-minute warning. 

2nd and 6, Pats going into a 3-Wide Strong shotgun. Garoppolo throws in rhythm to Mitchell running a Dig on the right sideline this time. He catches the high pass over the CB easily and turns up field. But the CB is able to reach out and grab his foot to trip him up. It seemed a pretty innocuous play.

But as the CB was pulling Mitchell down by his shirt, he reached out to the ground with one hand and his elbow bent the wrong way, and he was gone. "Malcolmís had a solid camp, spring," Belichick said. "Heís picked up some good techniques in terms of route running. He had some of that at Georgia last year when Coach Schottenheimer was there, so it was a little more of a pro offense. Last year, you could see his development in that area, and Iíd say heís continued that since heís been here. So heís making progress there. Weíll just take his situation here day by day and see how it goes." He has been seen on the practice field this week already, goofing around with Gronk's giant arm brace.

1st and 10, Pats go into a 3-Wide Singleback. Bolden charges to the line. He cuts back behind Thuney and Stork, and turns up field at the marker still heading towards the sideline. He finally is flipped over after 24-yards. Solder did a nice job sealing he DE outside to help give Bolden that lane.

1st and 10, they hand it off to White, and he danced a little in the backfield to make a linebacker miss, and then bolts forward for a few. I thought he was very impressive in this game. He was their best 3rd down back last year. But if you think back to last year he was terrible running the ball. But so far this Preseason he has been an effective runner. Which we never saw out of him last season. That is a massive improvement from last year.

2nd and 7, they run a Draw. White hops through the line between Andrews and Thuney. Then skips left past a linebacker, who was diving to his feet, and hops forward into the safety coming up to hit him. That was a great run.

3rd and 1, Pats go Singleback with Blount behind Garoppolo. Blount tries to get fancy and gets taken down behind the LOS. It was not blocked great. But it was blocked well enough for him to lower his head and have a shot at the TD. Instead he stopped, and turned sideways to the LOS, and got popped.

4th and 2, and they go Empty to put all the pressure on Garoppolo again. He has time. He looks left, and then snaps to the right and throws a back shoulder fade to White. White leaps up and catches it. But the linebacker made a great play to reach between his arms and rip the ball out as they hit the ground to essentially end the 1st half.

 

Pats D: Depth.

By TOM

The Pats primarily played in a 4-3 with Long, Branch, Brown, and Sheard as their D-line in the 1st quarter. "It's really competitive, yeah," BB said. "It's as much depth as we've had at that position that I can remember. [There is] good competition, we have some young guys, we have some guys with experience, and as you said, there's some different playing styles in there so it's not quite apples to apples with each comparison. They've all been productive. They can all do something pretty well to keep them in a competitive situation. There may be one guy that can do something better than another player or vice versa, but in the end everybody's been able to do enough to kind of keep it going in there, keep it competitive." The D-line has changed maybe more than any other position this off-season.

They are expecting a lot from Brown and Branch. "I'd say that some of it is just supply and demand," BB said. "Guys that have a lot of length in there, that are able to play in there, a player like Richard Seymour; the guy is the sixth pick in the draft. A lot of the players that are playing that position just don't have those kinds of qualities. They have other qualities; size, maybe quickness, maybe heights not one of them, but I think if you can get that in there, if you can get a bunch of 6' 5" defensive tackles that are as athletic and powerful as you want them to be then probably not too many teams in the league would turn those guys down. They're usually drafted pretty high, but there's not as many of them. There's the Vince Wilfork's and the Malcom Brown's, guys like that are a little more common. They just come out more like that than they do some of the 6-5 6-6 guys." Both those guys have shown they can play.

I love the idea of Brown and Branch starting together at D-Tackle. "Malcom, he's working at it," BB said. "Kind of like last year, the way we talked about David Andrews: played as a rookie, got some experience, is certainly ahead of where he was last year. Both of them, they still have a lot of room to go. They're second year players so there are a lot of things that Malcom can work on and do better but he's making progress. He's out there every day working at it. That's good." I thought Branch has been their most underrated D-linemen the past couple years.

Brown has spent the offseason working hard to get better physically and mentally. "Maybe the way I see it is if a player understands what you're telling him and he works hard to try to improve on it then he gets better," BB said. "If he doesn't understand or doesn't want to understand what you're telling him then how does he get better? Even if he works hard he's probably not going in the right direction. Being able to understand what we're doing, how to do it, and then being able to understand how to do it better, how to improve, wherever that is, whether it's in training, in the weight room, technique, preparation, any of those areas, if a player understands what he can do and he works at it then he's going to improve. But I think that's the most important thing to me, not what he can do outside of football on some other occupation. I care about that but I don't really care about that. I care about whether he can do it in a football context." The Pats need him to be better this season. He is their inside rusher at DT.

They started Collins, Hightower, and McClellin at OLB. "Shea has done a good job," BB said. "Shea has worked hard, he's a smart kid, he runs well, he's athletic, he has a good set of skills, so he has been productive for us in camp and in the one game we've had." They all played extremely well in the Pats aggressive 4-3.

And most interesting, Cyrus Jones started at CB with Butler, Chung, and McCourty. "Well, we're getting tested," BB said about the secondary. "We got tested last week. We're getting tested this week. We win some, we lose some, but they're battling. They're out there every day battling so that's a big part of it. That group has been very consistent in terms of having those guys out there every day, keep working to get better so that they have improved. They are getting better and they've gone against some really good players." It will be interesting to see who wins the Nickell role.

Jones starting is a very big sign that he is going to play a lot as rookie. He will be their starting Nickell come September. Another sign of that is Coleman got beat on the first play of the game. "He's athletic, he's fast, he's a productive player," BB said about Justin Coleman. "He was productive in college. His opportunities last year were spotty because of his availability but he did everything he could, even with I'd say minimal reps over the course of the season relative to guys that were out there on a continuous basis. He still worked hard, continued to make improvement, which I think he has this spring, this training camp, so he's getting better. He works hard at it. [He's a] very competitive player." He lined up inside as the Nickell, and lost the race outside on an out and up. Jones had perfect coverage in the Slot next to him. Butler got so physical that the outside WR just stopped.

Pats D: 1st Quarter.

By TOM

1st and 10 Saints, the Pats come out in a 4-3 with six guys up on the line. McClellin gets a good push on the TE, shoves him off, but misses Ingram slashing between him and Long. Chung gets a hit in, but Ingram bounces off and keeps going. Jamie Collins slides over from the strongside and knocks him down hard.

2nd and 2 Saints, Pats come out with a six-man line in their new 4-3 again. Sheard lines up as the strongside D-end. He powers right through the inside of the ORT and into Ingram. He grabs Ingram, gets a hand on the ball, and rips the ball out as he is twisting in the air like a lasso. Cyrus Jones recovered it.

1st and 10 Saints, this was a great play. Pats put five guys on the line with Collins and Hightower off the line. Collins is lined up in front of the TE on the strongside about 2-yards off the LOS. He follows him back a few yards, and then turns outside when the tight end goes inside. Meanwhile the WR on the outside ran an In as well, and Chung swooped in and crushed him a split second after the ball arrived. The ball popped up, and Collins dragged it in, and returned it for a score.

This was the play of the game. "Defensively, we got the turnovers," BB said. "We got the two [defensive] touchdowns so that's kind of 14 bonus points. It's hard to count on that in a game. In the end that really ended up being the difference in the final score. It was a great job by the defense to not only turn the ball over but converting it into two touchdowns. So those were obviously huge plays for us." Jamie Collins is now a superstar.

But it was Chung who made the play on the ball. "Anytime the defense can score, it's a real game changer," Long said. "For the entire team, it's a little bit of a lift so ball disruption, creating turnovers. That's always an emphasis for everybody. So anytime you can do that it's a good thing." Butler was actually covering #16, but Chung had over the top on the seam. When he saw Grayson wind up, he charged forward and made the play. Pats-8.

I was very disappointed with the offense. "We had our moments," BB said. "I think there were times where we did some good things. There are some things we need to work on. Sometimes those guys played inside. Like for example Trey was inside on the strip-sack that he had. So he actually did it from the tackle position. McClellin's primarily an end. He also played some outside linebacker for us. But in any case, that whole group of guys that you mentioned, they did have some production. They did some good things. Again, some other things we need to improve on." But the defense was terrific.

Pats come out on 1st and 10 in the 4-3 with the strongside OLB up on the LOS, and Hightower and Collins behind them like two ILB. Collins blitzes right into the backfield, between Long and Branch holding up four blockers, and slams into the Saints' Hightower for a loss of three. McClellin got in on the tackle from the other side of the line.

2nd and 13, the left side of the Saints O-line chops Long and Brown, while the right side of the line charges over to the blindside on the screen. McClellin gets into position to make the tackle for the third time, and grabs the other Hightower's leg and holds on this time. Sheard does an amazing job hustling over to get in on the tackle after rushing from the strongside. Brown and Long get up off the ground after the chop blocks, hustle outside, and dive onto the RB as well.

"I think there are some players in that group, like McClellin, like Ninkovich that are closer to linebackers than some of the other players," BB said. "And then you have some of the other players, Sheard or Flowers, that are maybe not really linebackers at all but could go inside more than you would want to put a player like McClellin or Ninkovich inside. I'm not saying they wouldn't go in there from time to timeÖ Your right, they're all a little bit different and we're kind of having to learn and adjust and figure that out. It's, in a way, kind of similar to the defensive tackle position, too. They're working hard, they're all really trying to do what we ask them to do but they have some different skill sets and I think it's part of our job to figure out how to best utilize those skills." They look like they have the most versatile front-7 in the NFL.

The defense showed they have amazing depth at all three levels. "It's really competitive, yeah," BB said. "It's as much depth as we've had at that position that I can remember. [There's] good competition, we have some young guys, we have some guys with experience, and as you said, there's some different playing styles in there so it's not quite apples to apples with each comparison. They've all been productive. They can all do something pretty well to keep them in a competitive situation. There may be one guy that can do something better than another player or vice versa, but in the end everybody's been able to do enough to kind of keep it going in there, keep it competitive." They will be a huge force in helping Garoppolo win the first four games.

3rd and 7, Pats go into a 2-4 Nickel with Collins at ILB. The the only LB off the line. They rush four. McClellin turns the corner and gets into position to hit the QB, but the QB was winding up and let it go just in time. Hightower rushed from the strongside, and spun off the ORT and leaped up into Grayson face as he threw. But Grayson hit Fleener, who was being covered by Chung for the 1st.

1st and 10, Saints stay 4-Wide. Pats stay in the 2-4 Nickel, except they have Collins and Hightower in at ILB. The run too Collins side, and he slashes around the ORT and hits the RB. Kuhn holds off the ORG and stops the RB cold as Collins grabbed him from behind. McClellin got a hit in as well. 

2nd and 8, they are really liking the big 4-3. They keep Collins and Hightower in a ILB, and McClellin at OLB on the strongside. With Knighton and Kuhn in at DT. Hightower slices around the line and dives at the other Hightower's feet. He grabs a foot and holds on to secure the tackle. But it was Sheard and Kuhn at the point who held their ground inside the waves of player surging to the strongside that help make the tackle.

3rd and 7, Pats go into a 1-4 Dime, with Collins at MLB. He is the only one who doesn't blitz. Sheard is standing up inside of McClellin on the Blindside. They stunted, as Sheard burst into the OLT and McClellin swings inside underneath him. It looks like both are going to hit the QB, but Sheard gets tacked to the ground, and the refs call a drive ending Hold. The QB hits the RB in the hands, and he drops it. So the Pats can refuse the hold and force the punt. That might have been Sheard best play of the game. He stunned into the OLT, and the OLG stayed with him, and he still flushed the QB. And it also allowed McClellin to go untouched looping inside the OLG.

1st and 10, Pats come out in the 4-3 with five guys on the Line and Hightower and Collins ready to dominate at ILB. The play is slow to develop. McClellin makes a great play shoving off Fleener, and diving inside to hit the RB. Sheard absorbs the double at the point and breaks free to get a shoulder in on the RB. And Branch gets through the center to get in on the play as well.

2nd and 8 at the 11, Pats stay aggressive in their 4-3. They line up McClellin and Collin like 3-4 OLB, with Hightower in as the Mike. They run play action to the blindside. Grayson waggles to the right unaccompanied by blockers. The FB Kuhn crosses from the left, and is the only Saint going in the same direction as Grayson. McClellin reads it and shoves Kuhn, the FB. But that just shoved him wide open to the flat. Grayson lobs the pass past McClellin, but he catches up and tackles Kuhn out of bounds.

1st and Goal from the 4, Pats go 2-4 Nickel. They run a smash. Collins catches Ingram at the 1 and stands him up. He starts to push Ingram back, and falls down. Ingram scoots to the left and tries to get in but Cyrus Jones, McCourty, and Butler were there to stop him inside the One. Then they run a Dive to the other side and Ingram digs under all the big guys like a gopher for a TD. Jamie Collins dived on him in the middle of the hole, but he was moving to fast and low to stop. Saints come out for a 2-point conversion. They run play action but the Pats had everyone covered. Meantime Grayson had bootlegged outside and ran it in for the 2-point conversion. Saints-8.

The Pats defense comes back out on 1st and 10. Pats defense stays in their aggressive 4-3, which they are really running like a blitzing 3-4. They bring six guys up to the line with Collins on the right and McClellin on the left. Hightower sits at MLB. The Saints line up big, but throw. Grayson 3-steps and throws too quickly for the rush to even start. The Pats front seven were clearly playing run. He hits Thomas in the left flat, and Cyrus Jones quickly shoves him out of bounds.

2nd and 1, Pats stay aggressive with their 4-3, but take Collins off the line. They hand it to Spiller. He has to hop cut to the left to avoid Sheard bursting inside. Sheard jumps on his side and tries to rip the ball out and falls down. McClellin and Collins actually make the tackle. I didn't notice McClellin when I first watched the game, but he is having a great game. Sheard didn't make the tackle, but slowed him up enough for McClellin to swoop in from behind and stop him for nothing.

2nd and 10, the Pats bring six of their front seven up to the line again, and bring Chung up like a linebacker. However, they only bring four in the rush. Long gets the outside shoulder of the OLT, but turns sideways and falls down. Sheard gets up field with a bull. Then he makes an inside move and shoves off the ORT and gets a lane to the QB. Grayson has to take off to his right, and hits Hightower crossing underneath. He catches it and turns up field for the 1st.

1s and 10, Saints go 4-Wide. Pats match up with a 2-4 Nickel. Saints run. Knighton swims over the center and forces the RB to bounce it outside, and Justin Coleman is waiting for him. He dives his shoulder pads into the RB's feet and takes him down instantly.

2nd and 8, Pats essentially go into a 5-3 with McClellin standing up on the Blindside and Chung at the Will. Sheard gets a great rush. He uses both his hands to shove off both of the ORT's arms, and cuts inside him. He gets double by the ORG and still hits Grayson as he throws. The throw is high and outside as he lofts one down the sideline to Thomas. Thomas catches the bad pass and flips out of bound, and as you watch it he is clearly out of bounds. But, when you see it on replay he did impossibly get both feet down with the ball in his hands before he flipped out of bounds.

1st and 10, Pats go 4-3 and bring both OLBs up to the line again, with Hightower as the Mike. Saints run play action. Long gets a nice rush. He hits the RB, off the play action, and then almost pushes him back into Grayson. But Grayson throws quickly to 83 going against the grain. He runs diagonally to the 10, underneath the coverage guys. Then makes Harmon miss with a quick inside move. Collins and Coleman jump on him and he slides down inside the Five.

Saints come out in an I, on 1st and goal from about the Four. Pats go 4-3 with McClellin on the line, and Collins and Hightower at ILB. Saints run a Dive to the FB. He smashes into the line. But Kuhn and Knighton hold their ground. After a big scrum, it looked like Hightower finally knocked him backwards.

2nd and Goal from the One. Saints go into a 4-Wide shotgun and spread the D out. Then Grayson quick snaps it before the D is really ready. Ingram dives over the top for a TD. Saints go for Two, like it seems both teams decided to do. They run a Jet Sweep that the defense was not prepared for. Saints-16.

Jimmy-G, Not Good Enough.

By TOM

Garoppolo was not great. "It wasn't our best start, no question," Jimmy said. "We started a little slow, which we never want to do, but that's going to happen sometimes. You're not going to always start the right way and it's just how you react to that. It was a good experience tonight just being put in a difficult situation and then just seeing how the guys responded, how everyone responded. I think we reacted in the right way." In fact, he was not very good at all against the Saints.

He has to be better against Chicago right away. "I think Jimmy has got good presence for the position," BB said. "I think he always has. Again, it's always a work in progress. There's always development. Every player develops throughout the course of their career as they gain experience. That's no different than him or anybody else, but I think his demeanor is good." Nobodies really great in the first Preseason game, because it is still practice.

But he was terrible. "Defensive signal callers and quarterbacks, part of their position is to get other things to other players, make calls, make adjustments, do the right thing that other people are counting on them to do," BB said. "It's their decision to make. So, doing that, playing with poise, there are 1,000 things, probably 10 things on every play. In general players that have a good aptitude for it or some guys are better at it than others, that's all." I just don't think he got the ball where he needed to get it.

Now, I'm not looking at him as a backup. I'm looking at him as the starting QB of the New England Patriots in September. "I think I'm working in the right direction," Jimmy said. "I said earlier this week, there's plenty of things I could work on, little things here and there. That's just part of being a quarterback. There are a lot of little things here and there and you want to be the best at your craft." I'm looking at him to be good enough to force them to trade Brady after this season.

I mean! I meanÖ

So the Pats have a Playoff future for 10 to 12 years instead of two or three. I'm looking for him to be an Aaron Rogers: a young almost untested QB, who replaced a living legend, proves to be a very successful for 10 to 12 years, and goes on to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory, or two. I'm not looking for the Pats to trade him for a bag of beans. It is looking now like both Brady and Jimmy-G will be on the Pats next season, which is unacceptable. It means the Pats will have to Franchise Jimmy-G after the 2017 season, and makes things so much more complicated for the franchise.

They do not want both Jimmy-G and TB12 to be on the roster for the 2017 season. They will both have 1st round value this coming offseason. One of them needs to be traded for a 1st this coming offseason, and the other needs to take over complete control of the team. I was positive they would go with Jimmy-G. Not because he is better than Brady, or because he will be better than Brady in 2017, obviously. But because Brady will have a year or so left as a viable option at QB, Jimmy-G will be a viable option for 10 to 12 years at QB. But what he showed in the 1st quarter Thursday night was nowhere near good enough to make him a viable option to replace Brady.

Sorry for the panic attack:

Okay, Jimmy-G has shown that he is a hard worker in practice but they need more, now. "I think that happened day one when he came here," BB said. "I think he has always done that. I don't think it's been any different this year. I think he has grown this year but I don't think his approach has been any different and I think he does have that. I'd agree with that." But when you convert 1 of 4 3rd downs (with two sacks) against the starters in the 1st quarter of a Preseason game, that is as bad as it gets.

There certainly where some extenuating circumstance (obviously no Gronk and Edelman), and the Pats O-line was not great. "I think that's always been a strength of Jimmy," BB said. "He's a tough kid and he's, I think, responded well from those in the past. I can't remember too many quarterbacks getting hit harder or more often than he did against Buffalo a couple of years ago. I don't think that's an issue. He's been resilient and has good toughness." He took some seriously vicious hits and got back up like nothing happened.

They made Garoppolo look like he was going to go 0 and 4 to start the Regular Season. "The situations out here, they're live," Jimmy said. "You don't know what the situation is going to be on the next play. You don't know what's going to happen, a turnover, whatever it may be. Whatever the situation is, in practice, a preseason game, regular-season game, whatever it is, you've got to treat them all as important." He did not look as prepared as he needed to be for the unknown against the Saints starters.

Which was genuinely terrifying, because the 1st quarter is really the only true judgments you can make in the first Preseason game. "We still have three preseason games," Garoppolo said. "So it's hard to judge, but I think we're going in the right direction. As an offense, as a team, we've got to take it one day at a time, one practice at a time and everything. We'll be where we want to be by the end of the preseason." He better be.

It was only the first Preseason game, which is usually virtually meaningless. But, he can't go into Arizona and play like that. He was statistically 3 for 7 in the 1st quarter (with one completion on 3rd down). But he actually dropped back to pass 9 times in the 1st quarter for: 3 competitions, got sacked twice, and had zero TDs (as did the entire offense). But what really worried me is that he was 1 for 4 on 3rd downs. That is just not good enough.

 

1st Quarter: Offense.

By TOM

On 1st and 10 they handed the ball off to Blount, and it looked like the rookie Thuney got a great block, sealing the DT on the backside. Cannon had a good block as he rode the DE to the other side of the line. But two Saints burst into the backfield and hit Blount behind the line. Which is always the fault of the O-line. Andrews got burnt by the big NT, who actually made the tackle.

2nd and 12, The Pats go 3-wide. Thuney picks up #70 and stones him at the line. Mason shoves the other DT out of the play. Garoppolo throws a nice quick pass to Bennett. He looked over at the H-Back in the left slot, and came across the field to Bennett on an out on the right sideline. The protection was excellent. By the way just for clarification, Andrews started the game a center, not Stork.

3rd and 5 with Trips left. Solder gets beat by an outside move by #91 for a sack, and Cannon gets beat by a power move that sends him right back into Garoppolo by 98. It was a great move by 98. He actually jammed the RB coming out of the backfield, and then turned into Cannon and hit Garoppolo to force the punt. Thuney and Andrews were excellent in pass pro doubling 99 inside. Shaq got jacked a little, but held onto 95 long enough to keep him out of the play.

After Jamie Collins' interception return for a touchdown the Pats decided to go for Two. The Pats came out in a 4-Wide Weak Shotgun. Jimmy-G handed it off to White who slashed behind a down block by Cannon for the TD. Cannon grabbed the D-end and tossed him inside. That might have been the best block of his career. Pats-8

1st and 10, Garoppolo has a nice smooth 3-step drop. He turns to Bennett after looking left in his drop, and hitches and throws in rhythm. But it is a bad throw. The CB had inside leverage, and he threw it inside. That should have been an easy competition to Bennett's outside shoulder. The CB would never have been able to get to the ball. Not only was it low and inside instead of high and outside, but Bennett had to interfere with the DB to prevent the INT.

The Pats came out on 2nd and 10. They hand the ball off to White. He cutback behind a Bennett block to reach the LOS. Cannon and Shaq had collapsed the right side of the D-line so he was able to slice through for three yards. That play was blocked well.

3rd and 7 Empty. Garoppolo has time in the pocket and throws at DeAndre Carter, but again the accuracy is off just enough for him to be unable to drag it in. That is not what you want against the Saints 1st defense. The O-line kept the rushers off him again. Thuney doubled the outside rusher with Solder, and hit him so hard he almost fell down. Saints only brought three as one DT zone dropped. So Andrews and Shaq doubled the other DT and stoned him. Cannon did a nice job kicksliding back to cut off the big D-End at the pass. The Pats are forced to punt, and all the cover guys loose their lanes, and the returner goes wild and takes it over midfield to the Pats 15. It was finally Grissom who hustled through the chaos to make the tackle.

Pats come out 1st and 10 in a Twins right Singleback. Garoppolo five steps drops, hitches, and throws in rhythm to Bennett underneath the coverage. He catches it heading outside. He turns up field and dives for the first. That was Garoppolo's best throw of the game. Garoppolo got hit by two guys as he threw. Cannon got into nice position kicksliding back again, but Shaq got beat by the DT looping outside behind the DE, and hit Garoppolo high. Andrews and Thuney were efficient again, but Solder got beat low by the DE, who turned and dived into Garoppolo's legs after he threw. Garoppolo got high-lowed there with two vicious hits.

1st and 10, Pats go into a Twins left I. The O-line wipes out the D-line inside. But it is suppose to be an off tackle run by Blount. The Saints OLB shots outside to protect the edge. Blount tries to cuts back inside, but can't make 59 miss.

2nd and 9, Pats in a Weak formation. Garoppolo 3-steps and gets swarmed over. He whips it wildly outside, but it skips past Develin out in the flat. This play was another example of why the O-line is so important. Garoppolo had three guys diving into him as he threw and there was virtually no way he could complete the pass. As the O-line goes, so goes the offense. He got absolutely crushed again by the DT 98.

3rd and 9, this is the money down. Pats in a 4-Wide Weak shotgun. Bolden motions into the backfield with White and Garoppolo. Both White and Bolden chip on the D-ends. Bolden had such a great hit he knocked the strongside DE on his butt, and then cut out to the flat. Garoppolo had so much time that he starts hopping up and down, and finally fires it to Bennett for a big 1st down, and his first 3rd down conversion. In fact, it was his only 3rd down conversion of the 1st quarter. Again, it was the great blocking by the O-line that allowed it to happen.

1st and 10, Pats go into a 3-Wide I. They run play action, but none of the rushers fall for it. Garoppolo spins under the first rusher and gets away. Then instead of throwing it away he tries to make a play. But he runs backwards and then gets tackled backwards for a 14-yard loss.

2nd and 24, Pats in a Singleback. They run Bolden and he bursts through a big hole created by the interior O-line. He almost breaks it. 3rd and 15, 4-Wide Weak shotgun. All the interior guys are solid again. The DEs get the corner, but Garoppolo is able to step up. However his throw was way off. That was his worst throw of the game. He had plenty of time. He stepped up nicely it the pocket. Then he missed White by two or three yards to force the punt.

Brady Speaks.

By TOM

One of the funniest things about things about Darth Goodell's railroading Brady is that now, technically, Brady is not the starting QB. So he doesn't have to be made available to the media on the podium until after September. Now he just stands in a corner and takes questions:

Here he is on the reason why he finally surrendered to tyranny: "It was just a personal decision," TB12 said. " I try to come out here and just focus on what I need to do to get better and help our team, and like I said, I'll be excited to be back when I'm back. I'll be cheering our team on and hope we go out and win every game." Interpretation: It is time to get back to football so I can get my revenge on the field, which is the only place I have the power to truly stick it to the NFL.

On how much watching Jimmy-G quarterback his team for four games hurts his soul: "I've tried to just be as positive as I can be," the Tomster said carefully. " I think that's kind of always been my motto. I know over the course of my career, I've been faced with different things and I've tried to overcome them the best way I could or the best way I knew how. I'll try to do the same thing. I just want our team to go out there and play really well. I think we've had really good competition, trying to push each other so that we're ready to go. It's tough competition, the NFL. Every team is working real hard this time of year and we can't take any days off. We have to go out there and try to work on something every day. Everyone has to be ready to go." Interpretation: FU and the Ass Monkey too. 

On "the dreaded decision"... again: "I think it's just personal," the Tominator said. " I've tried to move on from it. I try to just, like I said, focus on the positive, being here with my teammates and getting better. You don't want to go out and do anything but try to be a great example for your teammates. We've got a lot of competitive guys that have been out here on the practice field and I think that's where the focus needs to be." Interpretation: I just answered that question you idiot.

On his family: "My family's been everything to me," TB-Daddy-O said. "And obviously, the support of my teammates and coaches, Mr. Kraft and Jonathan. The whole team and all of our fans. I said the other night, I think we've got the best fans in the world, and we do. Hopefully we give them a lot of reasons to cheer this year." Interpretation: I love you man!

On how pissed off he really is at being exiled on the Chateau d'If: "I always approach it, I have a job to do, and I try to approach it the best way I can," Zen Brady said. "I've always tried to do things the same way. Every day is important to me, certainly as someone who's been around here for a long time, I know I have to bring it every day. I think I just try to go out there and lead by example, try to bring it and show my teammates that I'm ready to bring it mentally and physically every day." Interpretation: (*^%) YOU! AND THE !&& *&$! HORSE YOU RODE IN ON. YOU *&^&*  *&%# %$@$#^ )@*&# &#^%&@ )*&()! Hey Rodger, you can suck it too.

On how much he will hate missing games... huh... again... "I'll deal with that when it comes," Tip-toeing through the tulips Tom said. "I could have a plan and then change the plan, I really don't know. I'm really focusing on every day and trying to get better. One of my coaches said, ĎLook, you've just got to get better every day,' and that's where my focus has been. These days are important for me, they're important for every guy on this team to get better and make the improvements. Collectively, it's a long season. We've got a good, competitive team. Like I said, I'm just going to be rooting for us to win every game that we're playing that I'm not in, and certainly when I'm in I hope we win every game, too." Translation: Even though I will be so transcendentally jealous of little Jimmy-G that I will be spiriting bad thoughts about his mother for a month, the Mighty New England Patriots going 16 and 0 this season might make the false imprisonment worth it.

How pissed are you right now at King George Goodell: "I'm pretty much the same," Major Tom said. "I've been that same way for a long time. I think it's just a way to elevate everybody's game. It's a very competitive team, it's a competitive sport. You've got to bring it mentally every day. You've got to have an attitude about you. We have a lot of guys on this team that bring that. Trying to push their buttons, I love to do that, and they push it back. I think that gets the best out of everybody." Translation: Ground control to idiot media guys, "I flip-out and swear on the field every year, like an oxygen deprived Astronaut. Most of you trouble makers have seen me do it every year! Do you really have to act like me just being me is so far out that it gives you amnesia, and not some silly sign of annoyance at being exiled on the moon. 

On how being sentences to the Chateau d'If has changed him: "Honestly, I'm just trying to be as good as I can be every day," Tomichick said. "I think making improvements in certain areas, we've tried to make them. We changed our offense; we've had a lot of, kind of new players on the team, and just have been trying to incorporate them, so I feel like we're building towards something. We've got a lot of meaningful preseason games coming up that we have to see some improvements in and we've got a lot of practices left. It's a long season so it's just going to be a lot of hard work, a lot of discipline and effort. Like I said, I'm going to go out and do the best I can do in whatever role that I'm asked." Translation: it is what it is.

Making Up for Mr. Jones.

By TOM

I find it so surprising that everyone is so willing to just dismiss the 12 sacks that Chandler Jones had last season that helped the Pats place second to Denver in total Sacks last season. He was the leader of rush, and the guy other O-lines had to account for first. He was a ball of energy on the edge with an attitude that bothered QBs. So as important as it is to get Garoppolo ready to start the season, I think it is just as important to get the rush back to last year's status.

The first move was getting Chris Long, and we know BB was a big fan of his dad. "Well, weíve known Chris for a long time," BB said. "He came out in í08, or whatever it was, so from scouting him back then and playing against him, seeing him in the league. Coach Daly was with him at the Rams, so he had a little bit of knowledge of him. Chris obviously missed some time here the last couple of years so part of that was just where he was physically, but I think heís been able to train. Heís in good shape. He had a good offseason for us. Heís definitely ready to compete." The Pats were picking 7th in the 2008 NFL Draft and where interested in Long. When he went 2nd to the Rams the Pats traded back with New Orleans to pick 10 to select Jerod Mayo.

Long was coached by BB's ex D-Coordinator Al Groh. So they got the inside scoop from him. "I think we did that," BB said. "Chris, he was the 2008 draft, right? Which was the Mayo draft. Where we picked higher than we normally pick. I think we were at seven, Chris ended up going at four or five, whatever it was, so he was in that conversation. We didnít know whether heíd be there or not be there but thatís part of the conversation. We did a lot of work on him. In the end, he was drafted before we picked so it never played out but we definitely spent a good amount of time with Chris and of course talked to Al and the other coaches down there. But thatís a long time ago. At this point I think the players definition of his NFL abilities and value is based on, thereís a lot of evidence there much more so than there is in college. I think that ship has probably sailed from an evaluation standpoint." Now he is an NFL Veteran looking to regain some of his passrush prowess.

But he has lost some of his edge speed because of the riggers of the NFL. So they plan to move him inside a little on rushing downs. "Chris would fall into that category ;as a DE who can rush inside], same thing," BB said. "He really hasnít played inside, but weíve played him some in there." He has the size and experience to help make up for some of Jones' sacks inside.

But it is a whole different world rushing inside than it is outside. "Itís a different type of matchup," BB said. "Generally, when an end works against a tackle itís pretty much just those two guys. Sometimes a back or a tight end might chip him but for the most part itís pretty much truly a one-on-one situation from a wider alignment with rush-lane responsibilities on the edge. Inside thereís a third guy involved somewhere between the center and the guards against usually two rushers, unless you blitz but letís just say you donít, if you rush four then itís some version of three-on-two in there, so youíre dealing with another guy that youíre just not dealing with outside. The guards are generally have a little less length and a little less athleticism than the tackles but you also have a little less space in there. Seeing the way the protection slides, which way the center goes, whether youíre rushing on the guard or rushing on the center; as a defensive end youíre really not that worried about which way the slide is going because that doesnít affect you too much. It might affect you from the inside to make an inside move on the tackle. The guard might be there, but again, Iíd say overall thatís less of an issue than when youíre playing inside, so there are some scheme things, thereís a little matchup difference. Itís different for the guards to see those guys inside like that too, that usually have more length, more speed, more quickness, less power generally." It is also a shorter distance to the QB.

They are going to try and use five or six guys to make up for the loss of pressures, hurries, hits, and sacks that Mr. Jones had such a flare for doing. "Yeah, well I think really the key number is six [passrushers], not five," BB said. "If itís five, they can identify who youíre five are then theyíre going to be five-on five. Thatís what we see. If there is six, then thereís I would say on paper anyways, a potential mismatch of a back or a tight end on one of those guys: a defensive end, or Hightower, or  Collins, or linebackers, but you could call them ends if you wanted to. So I would say those are where the mismatches are. And then, if so, it could be any number of things where we could locate them. If thereís only five guys, if the team has one good blitzing linebacker and four down lineman then what we would do, what most teams would do, try to do probably is just us five have those five and sort it out from there and get the other protector, usually the back, the sixth guy." If they get seven sacks from Long, they only need the other five guys to make up one extra sack each. 

One guy who is going to help close that gap is Trey Flowers. "Trey was with us in training camp last year," BB said. "[He] was kind of a little bit limited, never could quite get his shoulder probably to 100 percent, or whatever it was, and then went on injured reserve and missed the rest of the year. He fought through it, he played, but wasnít really able to explode with it like he is now. That was a strength of his at Arkansas and for not a tall guy he has long arms, he has some length as a player even though his stature is not exceptionally long, but he has long arms and he plays the run well. Heís a tough kid. All of those guys, Rob [Ninkovich], Jabaal [Sheard], Chris [Long], Shea [McClellin], Geneo [Grissom], Rufus [Johnson]; theyíre all pretty stout out there. [Theyíve] got good playing strength, good length. So, that end position in the running game, so far, Iíd say that hasnít been the major problem for us. Itís been everything else." They need all those guys in the rush even more.

Trey is more of an outside rusher than Long is now. "He didnít play a lot inside in college," BB said. "I think there was one game against LSU when he was in there, but for the most part he was on the edge, so thatís an adjustment that heís making. Heís definitely getting better at it. He has quickness and again, the play-strength, and I would say the mentality to play in there. Itís just going to come down to experience and getting comfortable. Itís a little bit different. Youíre not working against as long of a guy usually at guard, and maybe not as athletic a guy as the ones that play tackle, but there is less space. The center is a lot closer to you. When youíre rushing against a tackle there is usually nobody else involved. Itís just the end and the tackle. When youíre inside, its some kind of three-on-two, so there is another guy in there, another body in there thatís generally not in play in the tackle-defensive end matchup. So, itís a little bit different but heís making progress on it." So we could see Flowers and Long lined up next to each other all over the line, which is a nice place to start replacing those 12 Sacks.

More Training Camp.

By TOM

Malcolm Mitchell was getting some run with the ones. He has been steadily progressing in one on ones. From getting a lesson on hand usage from Washington, to beating guys with his quickness and athleticism. You could see him using his hands and arms to shove off CBs trying to grab his shirt, like Nate the veteran told him to do. He shows some nice quick feet on Digs. He flies up in the air on fades in the endzone and leaps over everyone they put on him. He still loves the shake an' bake with his shoulders a little too much. 

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Speaking of Brady, he has been taking reps specifically from David Andrews. "David played a lot of football for us last year, smart kid, very football savvy," Belichick said. "He's got good instincts for the position. I think he built on last years' experience. [We] saw that in the spring. He's always got good command, but I'd say he's got more command, more confidence, maybe sees things just a little fraction of a second quicker because he anticipates it more and has seen it more." Stork has been working with Garoppolo in practice. 

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Sheard and Ninkovich started taking over some of the leadership roles that left with Chandler Jones. Ninkovich was in a great hand fight with Cannon. He has to be the old veteran leader now. Sheard has been killing it. He has been going against the Pats ones on the O-line, and eating them up. He can rush inside as well. He was killing Solder in one on ones. He has to have a great season now that Jones is gone, and all's they got for their top sacker last year is an IR-guy and a CB from Alabama. And of course some Cap space to sign Collins, Hightower, and Butler (they better). 

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Aaron Dopson continues to be the top WR with Edelman out. "Aaron's had a good spring and a good few days here at training camp," Belichick said. "I think we've seen that from him before. I'd say Aaron's just, for whatever reason, hasn't been able to consistently be on the field and do it. When he's been out there he's looked good a lot, but he hasn't always been out there for one reason or another. I know he's training hard, looks like he's in good condition this year. Hopefully he'll be able to stay on the field and continue to improve. I think that's really the key. It's not just being healthy, but being healthy to practice and improve and Aaron's worked hard. He's made some good catches. So hopefully he keeps climbing in that direction." When he is healthy he is the most physically talented WR on the Pats Roster.

Tight ends working on blocking had Bennett and Gronk going at it a little. "I was super excited to see him go out there," Gronk said about Bennett. "I made a couple big catches and he went, made a big catch, so it's great to see that; other players out there making big plays. And it's all about a team coming together and celebrating together after. It was super cool. It's awesome to see things like that." Gronk has been celebrating on the field, like Darth Goodell will be on September 11th.

Gronk had a great endzone catch from Brady, and celebrated as only Gronk can: going out and high-fiving with the fans. "We out here for the fun of it, and for the grind," Gronk said. "We understand that if they make a play they will be celebrating. You know, you see them celebrating. It's part of the competition. If you don't want them (offense) celebrating [you gotta] make a play and stop us. If they don't want us to celebrate, they gotta stop us. So it goes both ways. That's what cool about it'' He also grabbed a tough catch through Chung. He is a difference maker not just on the field, but on the practice felid. But he got his teammates chest bumping, high-fiving and laughing with each other. 

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Another kid who has been excellent so far is Cyrus Jones. "It's a little bit of a different skill," BB said. "As a returner, you're basically going forward, kind of like a receiver. A receiver goes forward; defensive backs spend a lot of time going backwards. One way or another even if they turn and run they still have to go from facing one way to facing the other way. A returner is like a receiver, you're going forward and you usually know where you're going, where as a defensive back, you spend a lot of time going backwards and you don't know where you're going. So they're different." The best way for a youngster to make the team is to impress the special teams coach.

He has not just been impressing the special teams coach, but the DC as well. "It's similar I think to what we saw at Alabama: smart kid, athletic, obviously very good hands, he's got good quickness, good ball skills, led the nation in punt returns," Belichick said. "I think you can see his return skills out there. So, he turns the ball over defensively if he can get his hands on it. He can make plays on the ball." He has been very physical in coverage, which he needs to do as a shorter corner.

He not only has been impressive on special teams but he has shown the ability to stick with WRs in drills. "He's fast. He's quick. He's smart," BB said. "He obviously was well coached [and] played in a great system at Alabama. Nick [Saban] did a great job with him, like he does with all of his defense backs down there. He's fundamentally a good technique player. But you know, it's another level here, and so he'll have to make that adjustment like all rookies do. But I think he's competed well and has a lot of things going for him." He was a shutdown Corner at Alabama last year on a Championship team.

He has adjusted so quickly that he is already bringing his athleticism to coverage. "I mean you play football your whole life, especially once the nerves calm down," McCourty said. "But I remember my rookie year [when the pads came on], you're just nervous. You don't know what to expect, what the tempo kind of is, how you practice at the next level. But they'll ease. They'll calm down, and then they'll be ready to go." Jones looks to me like he has eased, and is ready to go.

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Hightower had some nice coverage on White in one on one drills. Donald Brown got some hand offs from Brady. Brown has also been showing some amazing lateral bursts in drills. Garoppolo has had three turnovers in the heavy rain. He dropped a ball, and two of his guys dropped passes (Martin and Mitchell) that were then intercepted. You have to play in bad weather in New England.

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Hogan went down with a shoulder injury. He has been on the field, and soon was participating in drills again. "Like I always say, any good player you add to the team, it helps out," McCourty said. "Hogan is a hard-working guy. Working out with him for the first time this offseason, I saw how much work he puts in, so just that day-to-day grind of him coming out, he catches everything. Just him going out there trying to beat guys, especially in training camp, the competitive edge of going day after day, play after play against each other, I think he'll get us a lot better." Believe it or nor, but he is the highest paid WR on the team,

So they are counting on him to have a better season than any he had in Buffalo. The problem with signing Patriot's killers, like Chandler, is that when they don't play the Pats. And when they can't pad their stats against the Pats, their stats don't look that good. However, he did look very good running with the Ones in the first two days of camp.

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Shea McClellin was a D-End at Boise, who got lost at OLB in Chicago. Then found a home with the Bears at ILB. But now is working at D-end for the Pats. "I like doing whatever," Shea said. "Honestly, itís not my job to pick where I play. Thatís the coachís job and Iím just going to come out, work hard, show them what Iíve got and theyíll put me where I best fit. I donít care either way." He has started to show that he can get up field like he did at Boise. Though I did find him a little straight-linish at Boise.

He has a lot of learning to do still to find his home on the Pats. "Itís been pretty good so far, getting used to the techniques and the fundamentals," McClellin said. "Iím just coming in every day and working. Learning from the coaches, learning from the older guys like Chris and Rob and Jabaal. So far, so good." He has looked like a nice backup for Long, Ninkovich, and Sheard.

He will get some more chances to rush the passer when New Orleans is in town. "Itís been so far, so good, like I said," Shea said. "Youíve got to learn not just your position. Youíve just got to learn the concept of the play and know what everyoneís doing. But so far, so good." They have to make up for Chandler Jones' lost 12 Sacks somewhere.

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One of my favorite players the Pats have picked up the past few years (and re-picked up) is Tyler Gaffney from Stanford. "Obviously, he can get the job done," Blount said. "Heís a good back. Thatís why heís here. Thatís why heís getting the chance to showcase what he can do. I like him a lot." He was a great power back at Stanford.

Though he might be a little optimistic about his potential. "The way [Marshon Lynch] ran," Gaffney said. "How he took everything personal. Iíd kind-ah like to replicate that. Be my own back, but the same mentality. It feels good to get back into what football is based around." But you have to dig the confidence.

He has been moved up and down and all around since he joined the Pats a couple of years ago. "Iím trying to keep up," Gaffney said. "Aiming to be a three-down back, if I can do it all. If they only need me for the first two downs and not [the] third, or just [the] third, as long as I can do whatís asked of me, Iíll be alright." He was a great power back who could also play on 3rd down for Stanford.

The best way for a youngster to make the team is to impress the special teams coach. "I think heís got the right mentality," Slater said. "Tylerís eager to learn, and he really prepared himself this offseason to compete at a high level. I love his attitude and the way heís working out there in the kicking game." He has been making plays on special teams as well.

 

The Wide Receivers Better Be Ready.

By TOM

There are some life changes going on at the WR position in Foxboro. Who is Garoppolo going to rely on in September? Because right now the top WRs down at Foxboro are Dopson, Washington, and Hogan. Either Amendola or Malcolm Mitchell might not make the team, if Edelman can come back from his foot injury. Yes, he looked ready to play on the sideline, but foot injuries are always trickier than you think.

Just look at the odd and sad plight of one Aaron Dopson. He caught more passes from Brady as a rookie than any other rookie WR before him. Then he hurt his foot. "Going through what Iíve gone through has been difficult but you just have to stay grounded," Dopson said. "You canít let it hold you back, you canít let it keep you down, you canít worry about the past, you just gotta worry about the future and what I can do to help myself." He never seemed to get over it. He is the most physically talented WR on the roster, and couldn't show it on the field. He only played in 12 games the past two years, and never looked right. 

Then in June he started looking like the athlete he was as a rookie. And he has been doing it all off-season. He was grabbing big time catches in minicamps in June this year like they were hot cheeseburgers off the grill. He is the best size speed athlete at WR. If he can stay healthy he should be the starter going into Arizona.

In the first two practices he was the best WR on the field. "Itís always exciting to make a catch, a good catch," Dobson said. "You gotta stay humble, be consistent with it. Make plays like that every day. Everybody can make one-handed catches like that. You gotta do it a lot, catch the ball consistently." His ability to leap up with his great Vert. and snagging one-handers out of the sky is something to see. 

They were running fades into the endzone, and he was running past the CBs and leaping up and grabbing the high lofted balls, and looking like he was going to soar out of bounds. Then he tippy-toed his feet down in the corner and slid to the ground still holding on. He, Mitchell, and Nate Washington were killing the corners in the endzone in that drill. 

He had a great one handed TD catch from Jimmy-G on Day Two. "People are going to say what they want to say," Dobson said. "Thatís just a part of it. One of the sayings here is, Ignore the noise. So people are going to say what they want to say, and itís my job to come out here and get better as a player." He has looked surprisingly better so far this Preseason.

Getting used by the two starting QBs is never a bad thing for a WR. "Brady, who was standing at the 40-yard line, then told Dobson to stand in place at the goal line at the front-left corner of the end zone," the Herald reported. Brady threw a high-arching pass to Dobson, who only needed to move about a step and a half to make the catch. Garoppolo then told Dobson to stand in the same spot, but Garoppoloís throw pulled Dobson to the back of the end zone. There was clearly some sort of competition going on between the quarterbacks because Brady walked away after Garoppoloís throw with a big fist pump." That was on Day Three. 

If Dopson can keep this up he could have a nice season for Garoppolo and Brady. "I feel like I can play football," Dopson said. "Itís up to me to show my abilities to everybody. Itís hard to really say. For me, Iím just trying to get out and get better every day, every day, every practice." They are going to need some weapons on the outside. 

He has the size, speed, and hands, and he certainly has the leap deep down field. Plus, last season in limited action, he showed he could run the short quick routes that keep drives moving. He just has to stay healthy. "Itís always competition every year," Dopson said. "Thatís the fun part of it. Iím just trying to stay healthy. And play football, have fun, and just play better and help my team get better." He looked like his foot has finally healed and he is ready to start his career again.

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They gave Washington some nice money to be a veteran presence and he has done that. My favorite scene from Day One was Malcolm Mitchell running a pattern in three on three drills. He started juking and dancing and got lost as the CB didn't react and then just grabbed him. Logan Ryan got in front of him and never turned around, and then grabbed his shirt and he was done. 

Washington then went over to Mitchell and started showing him how to use his hands like a veteran. You could see how he was telling him to stop dancing and make the cut. Then he was showing how to get the shoulder, and jam the CB with an elbow or forearm. It was a great teaching moment from a veteran to a rookie.

Then on Day Two he was tearing up the secondary in the Endzone. He is more fast than quick, but he has great size and length. Plus he is smart. He knows who to suck up too. "Jimmy is a guy that understands this offense, thatís the first impression," Washington said. "Heís been doing a good job, but at the same time, you have to ask Jimmy that. Heís been helping me out, putting me in my right place sometimes when Iíve been lacking or not understanding some of the plays. Heís definitely been a guy that I can turn to, so thatís definitely been an understanding that I have with Jimmy right now." He knows who will be throwing to him on week one.

You also have to remember that he played in this offense for two seasons in Houston for O'Brien. "This offense is this offense," Washington said. "I think [McDaniels] does an awesome job of implementing what he requires of us. And from there, itís our job to make sure that weíre on the same page. Every day we have an installment, every day we have a requirement of us to come out here and do our job." He was running all the patterns without thinking and catching everything that was thrown to him.

The scary part however is that Washington was chilling with the PUP-guys on Saturday. Which just might have been a rest day for a 10-year veteran. With their ridiculous depth at WR, they need to give some of the younger guys some reps.

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There are so many guys trying to make the team at the WR position that some quality guys are going to be let go. "Thereís a lot of weapons on this team. Thereís a lot of guys you want to put the ball in their hands. Itíll be fun to see when once gets healthy." Hogan said, and he knows he has to take advantage now with Edelman and Amendola still on the mend. "You see how physical they play [Edelman and Amendola]. How they play the position. Itís good to watch and learn from them." He has really stepped up his game early in training camp.

In the first two practices Hogan was making a living lining up next to Gronk, and watching the DBs covering him get distracted watching Gronk. "Thereís still a lot for me to learn," Hogan said. "But I like where Iím heading right now." He looked a lot like Edelman playing off the attention Gronk gets from coverages. 

Only Hogan is 6-2 and 220-pounds. But he does not look out of place in the slot at all. He was running all the Pats short stuff that Edelman and Amendola make a living at doing. And he was very successful beating whoever they put in front of him.

They gave Hogan some guaranteed money. So he is making the team. "I make sure Iím accountable," Hogan said. "And know what Iím doing on the field." He hurt his shoulder yesterday in practice so he will likely be out a few days. 

Hogan was also killing it in blocking drills. "Good route runner," Malcolm Butler said. "[He] can catch the ball. [He's a] good blocker, good player." The problem is that he didn't practice today because of injury. 

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Mitchell has been working hard to make the team. He caught five passes in team drills on Day four when they were in full pads, including the final 2 passes from Brady. But how does he make the team?

We know that Edelman and Hogan are going to make the team. If Washington and Dopson stay healthy they are going to make the team. We also know that Keshawn Martin and Mathew Slater are going to make the team on special teams. They can keep six WRs because they have two important special teams guys. But can they keep seven, and keep both Amendola and Mitchell. Of course there will be injuries in the Preseason. So maybe a spot opens up, or they keep Amendola on the PUP until a spot opens up. It will be interesting to see these guys competing against New Orleans. 

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Rufus Johnson was looking good zone dropping at MLB. He is an interesting cat who looked great passrushing in Preseason last year. He would lose technique sometimes and get out of control sometimes, but he can really rush the passer. He is a long tall DE like Chandler Jones, but they are now playing him at LB as much as possible. The problem is that they really have a ton of depth all over the defense. 

We all look at Brady and say Super Bowl. But they have a shot at the mythical fifth because Brady will be more pissed off than he was in 2015, and the defense might have more depth on it than I have ever seen. Johnson is an NFL OLB now, and he might not make the team. He has Grissom, McClellin, and Flowers ahead of him on the depth chart. He is an NFL DE right now, but he has Sheard, Ninkovich, and Long ahead of him. He is being listed as an ILB behind Jamie Collins on the depth chart. Which might be the only spot he can make the team.

He is listed as 6-4 248, so he has taken off some weight to play off the line linebacker, as BB likes to say. He has the speed and heavy hands to blitz the QB up the gut like Collins does. He not only showed last season that he has that knack for making plays in the backfield, he also showed his senior year at Tarleton State. He garnered 50 tackles that year, which is not super impressive. But he also garnered 10 sacks and 17.5 TFL. Making 27.5 impact plays behind the LOS is impressive. I will be looking for #59 against New Orleans.

Garoppolo And Bennett Better Be Ready.

By TOM

The Pats have to find a way to go at least 3 and 1 while Brady is in Ch‚teau d'If. The player who is most responsible for doing that is Garoppolo. "It definitely started two years ago," Gronk said. "That's the whole point of not just focusing and practicing with one person. That's the whole point of training camp. That's the whole point of practices. I've gone with Jimmy many times, threw with him one-on-one many times out at practice. So, to just get that chemistry going we've just got to go out on the field, get reps together, go do one-on-one sessions together, just throw like we do and we always do. Just like any other process, repetitions with each other so that everyone's on the same page." We haven't really seen anything like this before in NFL history.

Jimmy-G will be leading this team in September through all the perils and pitfalls teams can put in front of him. "It's always important," Gronk said. "Obviously, he's going to be going in the first four games as you speak to Coach. So, it's huge to get these reps in now. Not just day one, not wait until week 3, not wait until week 4 of training camp. It's important to get on the same page now and that's what is so crucial about coming out to practice, coming out to training camp on Day One and just hitting it on the ground getting going." He has to hit the ground leading this team to give the Pats a monumental victory in Arizona, which I am not confident they can do. I think the other three games will be much easier at Home. That is why I say 3 and 1 and not 4 and 0.

Then we hope we never see him again in 2016. "Coach just told us that Jimmy is going to be the starter week one through four and then Tom is going to be coming in at week five and the rest," Gronk said. "You can just ask Coach Belichick about." Any inclination that Brady isn't the instant starter in Week Five is too stupid to acknowledge. 

He can no longer defer to Brady's leadership in August, like he did as a rookie. "Compared to last year and rookie year?" Garoppolo said. "Compared to my rookie year it's not even close. But that just comes with experience, though. Three years in the same offense, same team, same organization you just get used to things and things come more naturally to you." But he still was hiding in Brady's shadows last year.

That legendary shadow will disappear in September. "I certainly think we understand what we have to prepare for now," Slater said. "We understand what everyone has to do moving forward. To have a little clarity with that situation is obviously going to help our quarterback situation the first four games, and we know what it is now we can prepare for it. I think Tom can help us prepare for it as well, as I'm sure he will, being the leader that he is for this team. I think in that regard the clarity helps us as far as our preparation is concerned." The third preseason game will really be the first time he will have to rip Brady's hands off the strangle hold he has on the leadership of this team. 

Players like Slater, Gronk, and McCourty have to help him. "I think it's [an] adjustment," McCourty said. "Obviously, you can't take the field without a guy like that and think you're just going to go out there and pick up where you left off last year and fall right into stride, but I think we have a lot of good players. We have two other quarterbacks that have been very competitive. Jimmy has been here a couple of years now, so I think as a team we'll just come together, go out there and figure out a way to win. That's what it comes down to; we can't stick on that subject, just prepare and get ready to play." So the getting ready to play without Brady's shadow covering up for the team started on Day One of Training Game.

Garoppolo started stepping out of that vast shadow right from the start. "I think some of that is overrated," McCourty said. "What is a good presence on the field? You either play well and your offense moves the ball and you do a good job, or you don't. I think for [Jimmy-G], you just see him getting better. You just see him making great decisions, putting the ball where only the receiver can get it. Things like that, to me, stick out when you watch a young quarterback keep getting better. Looking off safeties, being able to get in the right play, you can see it. I think for me, playing safety I always talk to those guys about what they see and different things of that nature. I get to learn from them so I can take that on the defensive field and help the other guys on defense. You see him developing and getting better." He is now the Patriots starting QB.

Garoppolo actually looked a little more efficient than Brady on Day One of Training Camp. He has more quick twitch and faster feet, and his arm was perfect all day. "Just his power of the ball," Gronk said. "His accuracy going out there. The way he moves the pocket; I like how he can scramble out and keep it going if everything's not going right. He's just a competitor, a hard worker, which is always great, which always goes good with the team when you have someone that wants it and goes out there and competes." He has such smooth feet in his drop.

He knew the offense and what his reads were without thinking, which is step one for a young QB coming into the NFL. "I know he's been working hard just like the rest of us have," Mathew Slater said. "He's prepared himself for a moment to play since he got in this league. He's worked for it, and we believe in his abilities, and we know that he's going to go out to give us everything he has. And again, I'll say that I know Tom is going to do everything that he can do to make sure that not only Jimmy is prepared, but that this football team is prepared to do what it needs to do moving forward." He completed more passes than Brady on Day One, by one.

He won day one of training camp over Brady. "We're super confident in whoever's in there and that's what practice is for, that's what training camp is for, for everyone to get on the same page," Gronk said when asked about Garoppolo. "It's great to get the first day, get our feet wet a little bit, get reps with everyone, all three quarterbacks. So far, it's going well but [we've got] a lot to improve on, for sure. I definitely can myself, add a lot to my game, had about one or two dropped passes there. So I've got to make sure I limit those down and that doesn't happen." But like Mike Tyson said, "Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth." Garoppolo has to be punch to the mat a few times, and then get up and show he can do it again.

No one is better after getting punched in the mouth than Brady. That is Playoff football. That is the football Jimmy-G will be stepping into in Arizona. The Cardinals not only blitzed more than any other team, they like to rush with big passrushers. When they get after the QB they are bringing 300-pounders, or guys close to 300-pounds. The have Calais Campbell, Red Bryant, and Robert Nkemdiche at D-End. They are all 300-pounders who can rush the passer. They will be rushing the edge with an angry Chandler Jones, Marcus Golden, and Kareem Martin who can all hit the QB like runaway trucks.

When QBs get hit by those 300 plus pound guys it is like getting punch in the mouth by Mike Tyson. That is what Jimmy has to be able to stand up to in order to help the Pats get home court advantage throughout the Playoffs. "We really haven't gotten into that," Jimmy-G said. "It's the first day out here, so implementing the offense as we usually do and whatever they ask me to do I'll do to the best of my ability." I will be watching what he does after he gets punched in the mouth against New Orleans.

Which puts both Brady and Garoppolo in an awkward situation, and all the other offensive players as well. Garoppolo has to seize the leadership of this team from Brady in August, or they could be in trouble. He has to show he can be more than just the other guy. He has to own the offense, like Brady does, or they will falter. Luckily he has the new Twin Towers to help him.

The best news is that they got him some help. Martellus Bennett made the catch of the day in Day One. He was heading to he left looking for the Fade. The ball went fast to his right. So he had to pirouette around backwards to grab the ball with one hand and drag it in. He was a basketball player in high school, and he showed all those aerial basketball skills that you have to have playing on the court.

He is a phenomenal athlete, and just a hair shorter than Gronk. "He's great," Gronk said. "He's a great guy to work with. He's football smart. He came in, he's picked up the playbook very well. Which is super, super beneficial here in our offense. So that's super good to see. It's fun working with him. It's another guy that is just super talented and wants me to push harder, too. I can take things from his game, seeing his athleticism, seeing how he gets off the ball. I can bring it into my game, use some of his routes, he can come use some of mine, so it's great to work off of each other and great to be able to work with." He was super fun to watch on Day One.

Garoppolo is also a super smart kid. He knows the advantage of having the Twin Towers. "It's awesome," Garoppolo said. "It makes my job a whole lot easier that's for sure. There are some big bodied guys out there. Martellus had a nice catch today. Gronk had a couple nice ones. So when you have guys like that it always makes throwing a lot easier." When he gets in trouble when the Cards blitz, he knows he can loft one up high to Gronk or their newest power forward Martellus Bennett.

He has already shown that he has some chemistry with Gronk, and on Day One of Training Camp he showed he is getting some chemistry with Bennett already. "The primary focus is just getting everyone on the same page," Gronk said. "It's the first practice. It's really the first time we truly get our feet wet all together, everyone gets the same chemistry, get our body flows, get our body movements, see how fast we are, see where Tom throws the ball. I've been doing it with him for seven years now, so we kind of have the same chemistry right when we hit the field. I know where he's going to usually put it. I know that he knows where I'm going to be, but obviously my rookie year I didn't know that and as Marty [Bennett] is being kind of a rookie here, it's cool to see everyone work together, help each other out, and just go over and get some extra work. There's no such thing as [extra work or too many reps]. So it's always good to put in extra work and get more reps, as many as possible." Because Arizona is coming quicker than you think right now.

Preseason: Day Two.

By TOM

I took my son to the first two practices and we had a great time. Day One was brutal with the heat and sun, but Day Two was perfect with the rain and cooling off. I love to go to Foxboro and watch a couple of practices every year. It is so much fun, and you get to see so much. What players are surprisingly showing up on special teams. When, where, and how are the rookies are getting reps. I started off with the Day Two notes because I left my Day One notes in a bag in the car, and I'm in my underpants and don't want to streak outside and get it. Plus I didn't really take notes today, I kind of was trying to learn all the new numbers. So this is all just off the top of my head. 

Remember these guys have been working and studying in Gillette since April 21st. "Well, the way we look at it Tom [not me] is we have a certain amount of time, whatever that is, and we try and make the most of that time," BB said. "So, whether that's in the spring, in the fall, in training camp, meeting time, practice time, whatever it is, we try to make the most of it. A lot of things are considered. We have players at different experience levels. We have priorities of getting individuals ready, getting units ready, getting the team ready. There are certain things that we need to do, there are certain things that we have to prepare for in terms of our opponents. We just try and balance all of those things out and make the best use of the time that we have." So nothing they are doing on the field is by accident. 

DeAndre Carter is another tiny receiver who caught some balls and got some snaps on special teams.

It was very interesting to watch BB move around and work and coach the other coaches. "These guys do an excellent job," BB said. "I'm very blessed to have an excellent staff. We've got some coordinators. We have a good coaching staff. We have coaches that have a variety of experience. Dante, Ivan, Ernie; guys like that and then there are other coaches that have only been here for a year, or less than a year, or two years that are in there early to mid-twenties, whatever it is, and many in between. It's a mix. It gives me a lot of different opinions, perspectives. They do a good job. They work hard. They work well together. They're team-oriented. The team gets better consistently, so we're very fortunate to have them." It seemed to me he was more involved on the field than when I watched practices in other years.

The one WR guaranteed to make the team is Keshawn Martin. When you get a fist-five from the special teams coach it is always good (if you don't know who the ST Coach is, his initials are BB). He caught a punt and the gunner got down there fast. He found a seam, made a move, and got past them without looking like they could touch him. As he jogged back the ST coach walked over to him and gave him a fist-five.

V'Angelo Bentley, another nameless Safety from Illinois that has been showing up as a kick and punt returner the first two practices. He was the 3rd string returner on Day One. I don't see how he makes the team, but if he is getting on the special teams this early it looks like they might have a plan to stash him.

The Special Teams Coach was seen spraying Ryan Allen's hands as he held the ball for Gostkowski to kick after the rain stopped in Foxboro. "We're underway here at camp," BB said. "Hopefully today the weather holds, gives us a good opportunity to work in some inclement weather, which we can always use, so that'll be good. Again, as I said the other day I think the team is in pretty good condition, saw that yesterday. Hopefully, we can just string them together, which we need to do, string a lot of them together and just take it day-by-day, keep improving every single time we go out on the field. There's no shortcut to it." The weather stayed nice, cool, and wet.

It was reminiscent of Cleveland QBs coach Pep soaking down the hands of Goff at his Proday, because he played terrible in some rain games at Cal. BB loves to make the conditions as difficult in practice as he can. It was one of the funniest things I ever saw on the football field. The second time he did it, Allen looked up at him and back like he was pissed, and then remember the ST coach is Belichick and quickly snapped his head back towards the snapper. The good news is that he didn't miss a hold the entire day. Each field was successful. 

Cyrus Jones has been terrific in coverage, and has been the first team punt returner. He is in no jeopardy of being cut, but he is showing some nice speed and skill on the field as well. He has been alternating with Martin as the 1st team returner as well. Right as practice started on Day One, they were doing some endzone passing drills. He intercepted Brissett in the left corner of the endzone to start off his NFL career.

Brandon King and Slater were duking it out on punt returns to be the gunner to get to the returner first. "I think he's got some good skills, some skills that can translate to the kicking game, that can translate to passing situations on defense," BB said about King. "We'll see how it all plays out. I don't know, I think it's a little too early to start getting the bust ready for Canton [Pro Football Hall of Fame]. I think we'll just take it one day at a time, but he has good things to work with. Again, it's kind of Brandon King-ish from a skillset standpoint, 215, 220 pounds, can run, hit." King won a couple of times, and is making himself invaluable to the Special teams coach. Which is the best way to make the team. 

I don't see anyway Kuma Gruier-Hill makes the team. "He's a smart kid and he started off at safety," BB said. "He's played linebacker, so he has some experience working on those positions which is a lot of coverage responsibility, a lot of adjustments. You can call him a safety, or a linebacker, or whatever you want to call him but there are certain times when he's going to be in more of one area than the other even though he might be playing the same position but by formation, by adjustment, or whatever it happens to be. We'll see how it goes. I think he's more of a third and fourth-down player. I'm not saying he doesn't have a role on early downs, but I think he has a bigger role on third and fourth-down at least at this point, so we'll see how it goes. But he's picked things up well. He's been productive. Kind of like Brandon King, he runs well and he has some length at linebacker, or at that position, linebacker, safety, whatever you want to call it. He's got some length and those things work to his advantage." However, impressing the ST Coach is the best place to start. 

LaAdrian Waddle was taking reps at Left Tackle. He looked good in 11-on-11s. He also was more than passable in his limited time when Solder went down last year. I think he is the 3rd tackle on the team, and has to stay healthy. I like the way he moves backwards. I will be watching him closely against New Orleans. 

-------

They have to start Garoppolo in 3rd preseason game. I think they can monkey around and let Brady start the first two Preseason games. But Jimmy-G has to start game 3. "We have really 10 practices until we go with the Saints and then the Bears," BB said. "So that'll be five practices and two games. So, we have 10 practices here to kind of get some installation done, work on our fundamentals, getting into the basics of training camp, and then we'll really have seven opportunities between the practices and the games to compete with those two organizations and see where we're at." Both Brady and Garoppolo will be getting game like reps against New Orleans, so it isn't important who plays in the 1st Preseason game. 

Brissett will get most of the reps and the overreactions will start. He cannot play this season under any circumstance. And frankly, I don't think he can play at all. My notes from Senior Bowl on Brissett, "He cannot play quarterback in the NFL." 

Both Brady and Garoppolo looked good in goal line Drills. "It's just part of training camp," BB said. "There's a balance. Players that will probably play together, you let them work together, but you never really know how that's going to go. And in the end everybody's got to work with everybody until those things get worked out, get declared. I don't think we're really in that spot yet. But, you know, you get into the season and you want a certain receiver running a certain route, a certain situation, that's who it's going to be. I don't think we're really there. Offensively, we're just installing our offense. We don't even have 50 percent of our red-area offense [installed], and that's what we worked on yesterday so we're a long way from really trying to nail down a lot of specifics. But you saw some times in practice where the quarterbacks would be working with an individual receiver, maybe during a special teams period, things like that. There's some of that but we're not in that full-scale mode yet." But Garoppolo had a little bit better of a day than Brady.

The best part of practice today was Brady's competitiveness getting the best of him. He missed a pass. Then he threw the ball into the funny tennis racket looking things that the ball boys hold up to simulate rushers. He then walked twenty or thirty yards down field holding his two fist over his head in shocking rage at himself. He brought his hands down only to rip off his chinstrap. Then he grabbed his helmet with both hands on the facemask and slammed it to the ground. His mouthpiece and the pad that twists around his ear hole popped out. I can't wait to see his revenge tour this season as he wins his unprecedented fifth Super Bowl.

I find it ridiculous and shocking that anyone would imply that TB12 is anything other than the starter starting week Five in Cleveland. " We have finally some definition with Tom situation," BB said. "So our priority now then is to get Jimmy ready for the start of the season, for the Arizona game, so that'll be obviously a comprehensive process. Tom will return as the starting quarterback when he comes back, but in the meantime we have to prioritize the first part of our schedule and that'll be to get Jimmy ready to go." Brady is the pissed off HOF who is looking for the unprecedented Fifth.

Garoppolo might be the future, or he might be sent packing for picks after this season if BB cannot part with Brady. "That's pretty much where we are for today," BB said. "It'll be a day by day, step by step process. I think the players are, hopefully, ready to handle the challenges of training camp; working in different spots, doing the things that we did in the spring but doing them at a more competitive level, eventually in pads, eventually against good competition on the practice field and in preseason games. Like I said, we'll just go day by day [three things I pray] here." Garoppolo is working day by day to be the best imitation of TB12 he can be.

-------

I caught a few glimpses of Rufus Johnson, Grissom, and McClellin looking good in coverage. "He's been a versatile player," BB said. "Shea's a four-down player. He's done a good job for us at defensive end, pass rushing situations. He's got good quickness and strength in the running game, as well. Again, you don't need to move everybody. I don't think you need to have six guys that all play a bunch of different positions and move around a lot. That's kind of counterproductive, really. You need somebody that can move, or you've got to find your depth somewhere, but if it's a player that has multiple position versatility then great. Then you use that player. I don't think you need four of them." Ramon Humber was also putting in some extra hustle during Special Teams groups. 

Well, that's all I got tonightÖ

Say It Ain't So Tom! Say It Ain't So...

Part III.

By TOM

Then Brady surrendered...

So the three main positives that the Brady exile on Ch‚teau d'If will have on the team is one: he will play in a shortened season and Training camp. So he will have less hits on his body when the Playoffs roll around. Two: Garoppolo will get his first real NFL action. And the best positive is that Brady is going to be pissed off at the entire NFL world, and there is nothing better than a pissed off Brady in Foxboro. 

When Brady has been healthy in the AFC Champ game he has mostly won. When he was hobbled or hurt, it tended to get to him in the AFC Champ game, and the Pats lost. So the idea of him having a month long reprieve in the middle of the season (if you include training camp and preseason games) can only be seen as a very good thing. He will get rusty and upon his return he will have some timing issues with his receivers. But he will be able to step right in and be a better general for the offense than Garoppolo immediately.

The best news is that he will have Gronk. "Heís a smart football player," BB said. "He understands leverage. He understands position. He understands technique. He understands the concept of what youíre trying to do. Probably other than the quarterback, the tight end position on our offense is the hardest to play. You have all the protections, all the [blocks in the] running game, and you have routes from sideline to the middle of the field to occasionally even in the backfield. There are really no plays off mentally for that position. His work ethic, his ability to work with his teammates, whether itís the quarterback, the offensive tackles, the other tight ends or even with the defensive players, is good." He will also have Bennett at tight end.

They also have to get Edelman on the field as healthy as possible. "No. Iím just going to go out there and do what I have to do to get myself better to try to help this team win ballgames," Edelman said. "Iím sure there are other guys doing the same thing. Competition makes you better. Competition is big in any aspect of life. You guys are competing, weíre competing. We just so happen to have ours on TV and newspapers and stuff. If youíre afraid to compete, youíre in the wrong field." They need him on the field competing, healthy, and helping both his QBs.

The next best news in this scenario is that we play Cleveland in week five. Brady will essentially have a two-week preseason to prepare for playing the Bengals at Gillette, with a preseason game in Cleveland as a tune up (which should get ugly). "Iíve said many times there is no quarterback Iíd rather have than Tom Brady," BB said. "Heís my quarterback. So Iíll stand by that." They likely will be battle the Bengals (and the Indianapolis Dirty-Rats) for AFC supremacy, and hosting the Champ game. So winning Brady's first two games back is paramount to getting the Champ game in Foxboro. 

But so much of what happens next season is on the shoulders of one Jimmy-G. It is easy to forget that this is his third offseason and training camp with BB and McDaniel, while studying everything that Brady does. "We've been here since April 21," BB said. "We've been together for a while and we'll be together for quite a while after this. It's all part of the process." He has been in the best football college in the nation. So he will be ready to go on Opening Day.

Playing QB is so unique in all of sports. "The biggest value is consistency," Gronk said about the value of practices. "Going out there and making sure you're still on the same page. You don't want to lose it, you want to keep on getting gains. You want to improve. You go out there and make sure you knock all the rust out. We're always on the same page, and just don't lose it. Just keep going out, keep working hard and keep getting better." Both Jimmy-G and Brady have to get on the same page with all the other players on offense. That is what makes playing QB in the NFL so difficult. 

This Preseason is going to be a very difficult blend of getting Jimmy-G ready to start the season. "We're all starting all over," BB said. "We're all starting all over: coaches, players, everybody. It's a new year. We're all starting over." And getting the team ready for two different QBs, who will be playing at two different times.

But they also have to get Brady as many reps as you can to help protect against the rust of a four game exile in the Ch‚teau d'If. "No, my dear Dantes," King George Goodell said. "I know perfectly well that you are innocent. Why else would you be here? If you were truly guilty, there are a hundred prisons in France where they would lock you away. But Chateau d'If is where is they put the ones they're ashamed of." Sociopaths have no shame.

Garoppolo has to get top minutes against the opposing teams starters, and so does Brady. "Just keep making progress," BB said. "Each day, just try to build on the day before: a lot of new faces, a lot of new installations. So just grind through it day by day." The delicate balance of that high wire act could make or break the Patriots season.

Brady has to put his fear of losing his job that he earned at Michigan behind him, when they stuck a freshman in the 2nd and sometimes 3rd quarters of games when he was suppose to be the fulltime starter as a senior. "He looks pretty good," Gronk said about Brady. "No, he look's great. He looks the same every day that I've been here. He's always coming out with a competitive edge. His arm always looks strong. His football knowledge, you don't have to talk about it, it's second to none. He looks very sharp." He is going to get less minutes as a starter in Preseason, and then be exiled to Chateau d'If.

So much depends on the Garoppolo experiment they have been conducting the past three off seasons and training camps. "He's doing great, definitely," Gronk said about Jimmy-G at the last OTA. "You can see a huge development over the last two years in the way he handles the offense now. He's doing a great job going out there, listening to coaches, and just working together with the whole team." He has to be the leader of the offense over the next few months. 

Which brings us to the unanswerable question facing the team, can Garoppolo go 3-1 to start the season? I'm just not as certain as most other Pats fans. I don't see how he travels 3,000-miles to Arizona and wins. Whenever teams travel across the whole country they loose a hell of lot more than they win. Arizona played in the NFC Champ game last year, and is a tough veteran team with a tough veteran QB and defense. I just don't see them winning that game. 

So if they lose on opening day, he has to direct the team to three straight wins. "I think Jimmy has made great strides for us this season," BB said in the Playoffs. "The reps that heís gotten on the field in preseason games and in practice, I think heís shown a lot of: development, better understanding, quicker recognition, and reading of the defenses. [He's shown:] more awareness of whatís happening on the defensive side of the ball, better communication, better understanding of the offense, better understanding of the defense. Really everything." He has to take all the progress he has made the past two and half years, and translate it onto the field into winning football against: Miami, Houston, and Buffalo.

Which brings us to more good news that should piss King George off, after the trip to Arizona the Pats next three games are at Home. I didn't they could beat Houston now that they have an above average QB with a gross history of beating the Pats, but with Watts bad back they certainly can beat them. " JJ Watt can return week 1 but also could miss some time," Dr. Mark Adickes tweeted. "Backs [are] never 100% after surgery. [But] Watt regularly does [the] impossible." Garoppolo can beat those three teams at home. 

But he can't so 3 and 1 without the newly PUPed Edelman. "Heís always been one of the hardest workers," Brady said about the Julian puppy who follows him around everywhere he goes. "One of the hardest workers Iíve ever played with. One of the most determined young men thatís on this team. And heís got as much heart as anybody." With Edelman, Gronk, Dion, and Bennett Jimmy-G can go 3 and 1. 

But even if they go 2 and 2 it is not the end of the world. BB teams have a habit of starting off slow and progressing continually through the season. "Heís a hard-working kid whoís always prepared," BB said. "Itís a tough position to be in when you donít know if youíre going to play or not. But he prepares hard to play [and he will know he will be playing in September]. We push him hard to be ready to play, and heís made a lot of progress this year. As a football player, I think everybody has a lot of confidence in him based on the opportunities that heís had to show what he can do and how heís working." It is not uncommon for his Patriots to go 2-and-2 or 2-and-3, and still reach the Super Bowl. 

BB wants to develop Garoppolo into a viable option as a starting QB in the NFL. "Heís worked on a lot of things that weíve identified for him to do," BB told Mike Reiss in April. "Heís gotten better. He certainly has a much better understanding of the league. These last three weeks have been good for him and probably a lot of the other rookies too. Just in terms of the second time around. So kind of where we were the first time we played Buffalo to where we are now and sort of the better familiarity that he has, not only with the league, but in this team in particular. Since weíve already been through them once, I think that they can start to see, and as a coach you can see, that thereís a growth of understanding and the ability to process a lot of information." The truly best thing that can come out of Brady's exile on Chateau d'If is that they could come out of this season with two starting caliber options at QB. And they will have to trade one of them after this season, as Jimmy-G will be on the final year of his rookie contract. So don't be surprised when they trade a 40-year old Brady after this season. 

Say It Ain't So Tom! Say It Ain't So...

Part IV.

By TOM

I am an unabashed Jimmy-G fan. Though I am also Brady's biggest fan. But we are 0-and-Everybody against Father Time. So much of what we see this Preseason and in September will have rippling effects on the history of the Patriots to come. This is likely Brady's last season with the Patriots. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. 

I have always compared Brady to Joe Montana, and old Joe was traded to KC for a 2nd and 3rd round pick to play his last two seasons in the NFL. I also have always compared Garoppolo to Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers supplanted the living legend Favre in the final year of his contract his rookie contract, after Farther Time took too much away from Brett. I simply, sadly, and honestly donít see how those two things don't repeat themselves after this season. 

Jimmy-G is about to experience his first four games as an NFL starter. If he busts off a 3-and-1 or 4-and-0 record, the Patriots cannot under any circumstance go into next season with both QBs on the roster. One will have to be traded for a 1st to make up for the theft of last years pick. This is not how I want it to happen, and I'm positive that it is not how Coach Belichick wants it to happen either.

He has cold heartedly had to let go of guys that almost got him lynched in Foxboro. "[Brady is the] greatest quarterback of all time. He's been just a tremendous leader and tremendous player for our organization," Belichick said. Then continued. "One of the things we've tried to do is be an outlier in some respects. We've had to find different ways to capitalize on the talent that's available [because all the winning lowers the level of Draft picks]. Otherwise, we're going to get like the fifth-, sixth-, seventh-best guy at whatever the position is. So we've tried to take more of our way in areas that are less populated." From Lawyer Milloy to Logan Makins, he has shown a cutthroat ability to let stars go a year or two before Farther Time has taken away what made them special in the NFL.

Brady will turn 40-years old in training camp next year, and Garoppolo will be 26 next year. "Garoppolo can play," the HC of the NJJ Todd Bowles said. "They don't worry about who they have. They just have a system in place and they go play football. I think people underestimate that." Joe Montana could play. 

If BB sees Garoppolo as a viable winning QB in the NFL, he has no choice but to trade Brady to the highest bidder. Montana won four Super Bowls in San Fran, where he got the crap beat out of him by Father Time, and was sent packing so they could win a fifth with a younger Steve Young. The question BB is asking himself right now, and will be repeated on an infinite loop in his head for the next year is, "Who can win more Super Bowls with over the next 5 to 10-years, a 40-plus year old Brady or a young Garoppolo?" If the honest answer that he hides in the darkest stains of his soul is Garoppolo than he has no choice.

It is cold. It is ugly. It is the realty of the human condition. "Brady makes that team go," Eric Decker said. "I don't think he's appreciated enough for what he does as far as at the line, putting them in positions to be successful. He's one of the premier players. Because you can plug people in, and he still has so much success." BB is going to find out in a hurry if Garoppolo can make this team go, like Aaron Rogers did in Green Bay.

Joe Montana got traded for a 2nd and 3rd round pick because he got old, and Young got good. Brett Favre turned ugly in Green Bay, and was traded to the Jets for a 3rd that could be turned into a 2nd round pick, because a young Aaron Rogers had 10 to 12 years more time in the future as an NFL QB. 

Now Brady will be standing on the precipice of being 40-years old after this season. He will be a year older than Favre was when he was sent to the Jets, and three years older than Montana, who was 36 when he was traded to Kansas City. BB witnessed all these things and knows the heart and soul of professional athletes better than we do. He has shown that he can hold the cold sword of Damocles over the heads of his favorite aging stars, like Seymour and Law. The only real question that remains is can he do it to the player who he deemed as the "greatest quarterback of all time," or will he buckle under sentiment? He has consistently shown that he doesn't buckle under the later (I actually teared up at the end of this ugly piece).

Say It Ain't So Tom! Say It Ain't So...

Part II.

By TOM

Then Brady surrenderedÖ  

I never saw him surrender before. I'm not sure I know what to make of it. Does that mean he might start surrendering on the Field? I think that is a Big No. Next season will be the 2014 Revenge Tour all over again. That is the good news. Along with the fact that Brady will be playing a 12 game season, which can be nothing but good for his old body.

I don't want to re-litigate all the lying crap the NFL attacked Brady with in this whole mess. The misinformation campaign against Brady was one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen in pro sports. I was talking to a cop in Fitchburg at a basketball clinic about Brady last week, and he was a Marcus Smart fan so you know he is smart, but he kept spewing all the lies that Roger Dodger and the NFL offices were spewing.

He is a Celtics and Patriots fan. But when I asked him, "when, where, and how the balls were allegedly deflated?" He thought the ball boys stole the balls from the refs and disappeared. He would not believe that one of the refs said that the ball boy waved at them, and said he was taking the balls no, or whatever. Then he was under surveillance by the cameras the whole time he had the ball sack, except for a 90-second potty break; He also wouldn't believe that Luck's balls were also being tested as under inflated as much as Brady's balls, so they stopped after three balls (like wretched lie number 4 by that rat bastard Mort said when asked about all the Colts balls, he told the lies that were programmed into him: "Yes, they were within regulation and remained within regulation." Which Rodger-Dodger is still pretending is true). He wouldn't believe the facts written into the Wells report, only the lies that were told that weren't in the Well's report.

So I'm not interested in going over all that crap again, other than to say there was no motive and no opportunity for  for the alleged ball boy to suck the air out of Brady's alleged balls. The misinformation campaign was so successful that even intelligence well-meaning Patriot fans got fooled to their core by Rodger Dodger's pathological lies. And the fact that it was meant to cover up Rodger Dodger's and Grison's attempt to fix the 2015 AFC Champ game in Foxboro.

The only thing that matters from here is where do we go from here? First, Brady has surrendered: "I'm very grateful for the overwhelming support I've received from Mr. Kraft, the Kraft family, coach Belichick, my coaches and teammates, the NFLPA, my agents, my loving family and most of all, our fans. It has been a challenging 18 months and I have made the difficult decision to no longer proceed with the legal process. I'm going to work hard to be the best player I can be for the New England Patriots and I look forward to having the opportunity to return to the field this fall." You're welcome Tom.

The other fact is that Kraft choose his NFL money over his so called buddies BB and TB12. "The penalty imposed by the NFL was unprecedented, unjust and unreasonable, especially given that no empirical or direct evidence of any kind showed Tom did anything to violate League rules prior to, during or after the 2015 AFC Championship Game," Kraft' said. "What Tom has had to endure throughout this 18-month ordeal has been, in my opinion, as far removed from due process as you could ever expect in this country." However, I think it is safe to say that no one excepted the completely insane punishment for an alleged equipment infraction that the Well's report proved never happened, and Brady, as is his right, to refuse to give up his cellphone under any circumstance (Brett Favre received a 50,000 dollar fine for sexually harassing a female reporter, and refusing to give up his cell phone).

Kraft surrendered Brady to the NFL TV money he and his other owners are guaranteed before the fight even started. Granted, it is estimated that the owners will be divvying up approximately 6.4-Bil in NFL revue money this year alone (it does not include local dough earned by each individual owner). But he could have put up even the slightest semblance of a fist fight first, before he surrendered to the TV money. This swung open the gate for King George Goodell to decree martial law on the Patriots. 

Granted, the money he surrender to is ridiculous. In a moment of weakness I would have certainly surrender to approximate 1/2-a-Bil in guaranteed revue stuffed into my greasy pockets in 2016. The Packers are forced to report everything because they are publicly traded, and they reported 375.7-Mil in total earnings in 2014, two years ago. It was estimated that the NFL would increase revenue by 14.3% in 2015, which was an estimated 429.4-Mil in total revenue for the Packers last year (only a 10% bump in Cap cash in 2016 could possibly be 472.34-Mil). I can guarantee you the Pats earned more than that in total revenue in 2015 (And could possibly earn a lot more than that in 2016).

Say It Ain't So Tom! Say It Ain't So...

Part I.

By TOM

Then of course Brady surrenders. After all the lies, misinformation, and pathological liar alarms surrounding all that is Rodger-Dodger it just can't be so (like wretch lie number 1, which really was the source of all Rodger-Dodger's statements after the Well's Report when he knew for a fact it was a lie: "NFL has found that 11 of the Patriots footballs used in Sundayís AFC title game were under-inflated by 2lbs each, per league source."). Rodger-Dodger has become King George. As Thomas Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence: In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

But in spite of all these affronts King George Goodell did nothing, and continues to do nothing, but continue the lies and misinformation. (like wretched lie number 2: "In fact, one of the game balls was inflated to 10.1 psi, far below the requirement of 12 1/2 to 13 1/2 psi." Which Rodger-Dodger is still pretending is true). That is what scares me.

The NFL decided to have their refs run a sting operation rather than ref the AFC Champ game properly, and then King George Goodell lied about it (which led to wretched lie #3 by the head ref Dean Blandino , which is the lie I'm breaking down in Part I: "The issue came up during the first half, as far as I know. There was an issue that was brought up during the first half, a football came into question, and then the decision was made to test them at halftime." The "Issue" that came up was an interception of a Brady pass by Colt's LB D'Qwell Jackson, who had no idea what reporters were talking about when they asked him about deflated balls. "I wanted that ball as a souvenir," was all he could say as the pundits pretend he intercepted a ball on the field, felt the massive loss of 3 or 4 OUNCES of PSI missing, and concluded that it was a plot by Brady to suck the air our of his balls. Then he incomprehensively got on his cell phone, on the sideline, during the AFC Champ game, and called the Colt's GM, and resident pathological liar, Grigson on the sideline.

The Free Press played their part in King George Goodell's tyranny, and kept pressuring Jackson to validate the lie that his hands were so sensitive that he could feel when a ball lost a few ounces of pressure do to the ideal gas law, and the lie that he said anything to anyone that Brady's ball felt soft, which he categorical denied. "I wouldn't know how that could even be an advantage or a disadvantage," Jackson said about the irrelevant air pressure of a football. "I definitely wouldn't be able to tell if one ball had less pressure than another." Which makes the NFL's scheme to railroad Brady during the AFC Champ game even more malevolent, because none of the refs who handled Brady's balls more than all the players on both teams combined, except the OC and QB, felt the slightest bit of difference in the 3 or 4 ounces of pressure lost during the game do to the cold New England night. None. Nada, Zero.

This is of paramount importance, because they claimed it was not a sting operation. That there was no plan to check the balls at halftime. This is what King George Goodell is really hiding with his lies and misdirection. King George Goodell is guilty of colluding to destroy the integrity of the game with a sting operation during the AFC Champ game to try and steal the game from Brady and the Pats.

But because of Jackson's INT and subsequent complaint, as told to the refs by the lying sack of crap Grigson, that the refs were then forced to check the balls at halftime (which I must say again that Jackson said that he did not make! "I definitely wouldn't be able to tell if one ball had less pressure than another," Jackson said completely debunking the lie that it wasn't a planned sting operation.). Which is an incomprehensible story. It simply makes no logical or logistical sense at all, even before you realize that Jackson never said anything to anyone about balls ("I definitely wouldn't be able to tell if one ball had less pressure than another."). Then you can only conclude that it was a prepaid lie set up by the Colts, King George Goodell, and the refs to destroy the integrity of the AFC Champ Game with a sting operation.

The reason King George Goodell is 100% positive that the integrity of the 2015 AFC Champ Game was tampered with is because he is the one who did it, and the Wells Report proved it. SuckMyBallsGate was his cover up. 

Because, the linebacker wearing gloves who intercepted a ball and gave it to a ball boy to hold as a souvenir did not lie revealed the truth ("I definitely wouldn't be able to tell if one ball had less pressure than another," Jackson said.). The press continued to press the lie that King George Goodell didn't set up the sting before the game, even though Jackson kept telling everyone who wouldn't listen that it was a steaming pile of tyrannical poo. "I mean, Anderson Cooper asked my agent if I could come on his show," Jackson said about how he "definitively" couldn't tell whether Brady's ball was soft or not. "I'm honored that he wants to talk to me, I guess! But I really just wanted my souvenir from a special accomplishment in my career." He did have an actual INT in the AFC Champ Game.

The whole sting operation was based on one baseless lie told after the fact. "I definitely wouldn't be able to tell if one ball had less pressure than another," Jackson said (Which brings us to wretched lie #4 by the head ref Dean Blandino, "Kensil also forwarded Grigsonís email to Dean Blandino and Alberto Riveron, both senior members of the NFL Officiating Department, with the message 'see below.' Both Riveron and Blandino decided that they would raise the issue with Walt Anderson, who had been assigned as the referee for the game."). Now if you believe that all those lies could be accomplished at halftime (because Anderson was on the field during the game!!!!!), and that they could then confiscate the balls and test each one of them after the refs had walked up the ramp and off the field. Because Anderson was not answering his emails on the damn field!!!! Seriously! This whole lie is based on a ref answering his emails, on the field, during the game? Seriously! If you believe that than are too stupid to my website anymore.

So despite reality, Anderson apparently grabbed all the Patriots balls, before running up the ramp to the refs halftime room and before he read the emails. Then read the emails in the locker room, and was he happy he just happened to confiscate Brady's balls before he went up to the refs room? Even King George Goodell doesn't understand that incomprehensible lie. It could only have been coordinated with Anderson before to game, period. To believe otherwise makes you dumber than all those suckers who bought the Brooklyn Bridge.

Because no matter how much the Free Press failed, and tried to make one honorable man lie, he refused! "I wouldn't know how that could even be an advantage or a disadvantage," Jackson said about the NFL lyingly making him the linchpin of their sting operation. And the pathetic pundits just kept ignoring him like he was reality.

Especially since the outcome of the game was not affect by the lost of pressure in the balls of both teams (and yes, the Colts' balls lost 3 to 4 ounces of pressure do to the ideal gas law as well), but it was clearly affected by the Sting operation at halftime. "It wouldn't have changed the outcome of the game," Jackson said with the rarest of honesty in this whole sting operation. Then continued "They outplayed us. We didn't match their intensity. I don't feel slighted at all personally. They created turnovers, they ran the ball on us. They won that game because of their intensity, not the pressure of a football!" These are the words of the Colt's LB who intercepted Brady's pass. Then the NFL stooges said that the ball he intercepted felt a little soft to him, in order to justify the failed Sting operation.

This is what SuckMyBallsGate is really all about. It is the cover up of a crime committed by those with enough power to cover it up. And like most tyrannical cover-ups, the fact that is makes no logical or logistical sense is irrelevant, as they know the lemmings will follow them off the cliff.  They planned a sting operation. Failed, because they proved that no air was taken out of Brady's balls illegally. And then pretended that the sting operation never happened, and that Brady's balls were somehow tampered with illegally, even though they couldn't show when, where, and how it happened. They did it to cover up the fact that King George Goodell and that lying sack of Crap Grigson conspired against the Patriots before the AFC Champ game to destroy the integrity of the game. You cannot have the head of the League conspiring with the GM of team before a game to disrupt the game in the Colts' favor. And taking away Brady's personally prepared balls at halftime of the AFC Champ Game was a distinct advantage for the Colts.

So once King George Goodell failed miserable to set up the Patriots, he had to change reality to cover up his attempt to destroy the Pats chance to get to another Super Bowl. That is why he refused to be reasonable. To actually read the Wells report (which he obvious didn't do), and not conclude that it was impossible for the Brady's balls to be manipulated before the fact is incomprehensibly stupid. Because once the refs checked the balls they were within sight of the refs or under video surveillance the entire time, except for a 90-second potty break by a ball boy. And no matter how much of a lying sack of crap you are, even you don't believe that you can suck exactly 3 to 4 ounces of air out of a dozen balls in 90-second, even under the best of conditions. Never mind get all the balls in and out of a ball sack in a bathroom in the bowels of Foxboro Stadium. It is not possible, period. 

I didn't want to relitigate this whole scam by King George Goodell, but every aspect of SuckMyBallsGate are such incomprehensible lies that when you look at any section honestly, god forbid, is simply doesn't conform with reality. No one has yet to explain even the simplest of lies: When? Where? And How? All the Haters refuse to even acknowledge the when, where, and how the ball could have possibly have been deflated after the refs checked them. Not a word about it. Not a sentence. Just that scared look on their face that liars get when they get confronted by their lies.

So getting to the positives of Brady's surrender is going to take a lot longer than I planned, as I am pissed off againÖ

All Hell Broke Loose Part IV. 

Jaylen Brown: The Future of the Celtics.

By TOM

Oh My Goodness! I go on vacation for a week, and all hell breaks loose in Boston sports. The best part about Jaylen Brown's game was on display the past few games in the Summer League, and that aggressiveness will be a huge plus in the NBA. Once his knee finally got better, he turned up the aggression a notch or ten. Attacking the basket, sometimes aimlessly, over and over again with an aggression that can make him a star; once he learns how to play. He still breaks out the high school basketball too much. He has been so aggressive that the refs couldn't stop calling fouls for him to the tune of 16 free throws a game. 

That is a great stat. But, the NBA refs are not going to put a rookie on the free throw line 16 times a game. "Time will tell," Ainge said. "[Jaylen's] not a cornerstone today. I would never put any pressure on a kid that young, but listen, that's how cornerstone players are made. There are so many guys as you look all around the league, nobody on draft night knew what they were. We'll see. Time will tell." He still has so much maturing to do in his game.

It is so important to remember that he is still only 19-years old. And like Anderson Espinoza, he is not likely to be a winner contributor to the major League team for at least three or four years. "We grew very fond of Jaylen," Ainge said. "Heís a great kid. [Who's still only] 19 years old. Who has a manís body [and] great athleticism. Sort of a vogue/new type of player in the NBA: of the versatile players, the versatile wings, can play multiple positions defensively. And we think he has a lot of upside. But we think heís a 19-year-old kid that can get on the court and play with the big boys right out of the gate." He struggled to play with the big boys down in Utah, and then hurt himself.

He still showed too much of high school game before he hurt his knee. He kept beating his man off the dribble, and then dribbling in a straight line to the hoop without adjusting to the Bigs getting in his way, and then leaping up and trying to dunk over them. You cannot do that in the NBA. NBA Bigs are experts at blocking shots of straight liners who try to dunk over them.

But something changed after he was forced to sit down for a week. Something finally clicked in his head that he didnít have at Cal. He started playing with his head up and seeing the defense and making quick adjustments after he broke down his man. His handle has also vastly improved in the short time he left Cal as well (The PAC-12 channel replayed some of his Cal games in the PAC-12 Tournament and I was pathetic enough to watch a couple). He can get past his defender, and actually change directions and hands while watching the defense and his teammates, and pass, pull up, or attack the hoop. When he applies true basketball skill to his elite athletic body, he looks like the kid who some called the best high school basketball player from Atlanta ever.

I watch the final Summer League game where he progressed so far in such a short period of time that his game really shined. He had an impossible lefty reverse layup through three defenders in the 1st quarter that looked like LaBron. He shot a soft three. He grabbed a rebound and attacked up court with his head up, spotted a teammate, and hit him in stride for a fastbreak layup. If you want to be a true transcendent player you have to not only affect winning, but you also must make your teammates better. He showed he could bring the ball up on offense, and make passes that make his teammates better.

Now I'm only talking about flashes and dashes and sparks of his immense talent. He still plays too dumb sometimes, and his high school game has to be beaten out of him by his obvious intelligence. He is still such a kid. But you can see that there are thing he does on the court that if he can start to be consistent with those flashes in three or four years they can bring him to stardom. Or his foolish high school mentally can crush his vast potential. He showed enough flashes and dashes of brilliance to me to say that he is only three or four years of maturity, repetition, and learning away from stardom, and maybe five to eight years away from being a true transcendent player in the NBA. 

Another trait that showed up over the last few games of Summer League has been that he is rebounding at a terrific rate and playing terrific defense. It's like I always say, "in today's NBA to be a true transcendent player you have to be able to create offense." He has been phenomenal at creating offense for himself and sometimes for his teammates. He has been able to take the D-rebound, take it up court, and hit teammates breaking to the hoop, or obviously attack the rim with reckless abandon. His passing has raised his game to a whole new level the past two games. He even clanged in a pull up jumper in the 2nd quarter to get the Celtics back to within seven. 

However, his jumper has been a clang-fest. He hasn't just been missing, he has been hurting the rim with his hard shooting. He has had hard bounces off the rim that consistently clang the ball up above the backboard. There is little or no softness in his jumper, and his clangs ring through the area like a case of glass bottles smashing on the ground. However, he did get a nothing but net Three in the final game, which I think was his only three since he came back. Plus, I hate to criticize young player for having bad jumpers. All young kid have the clanging disease that can cured by relentless repetition if they want to.

He has consistently been a terrific player on defense. "I like the integrity with which Jaylen has been playing with," Ainge said . "I like that: he defends, he rebounds, he passes. Heís a complete player. Heís gotta become a better shooter and he will because heíll put in the work. And heíll be better finisher around the rim and all those kind of things. But, at age 19, with his body and athleticism and willingness to play defense, I think heís going to be a terrific player." There were so many Celtics Vets in Vegas that you can see Brown has taken to watching and listening to them and what the coaches are teaching.

When he sat down in the 2nd quarter of the last game (Rozier did not play in that game) they lost the lead. And they were killing Portland in the 1st quarter with him attacking so wonderfully aggressively all over the court. With Rozier out, he was the primary ball handler more than in the last game. He has become a much better lefty dribbler than given credit. He has been crossing over from hand to hand a lot the last few games. But what has made him special the past two games is that he has ramped up his aggression to a star in waiting level. "I know I have a really quick first step, so if you donít cover for that Iíll get to the basket," Brown said. "Every game Iím just trying to be aggressive and attack." He not only had 21 points in the last game, he also had 7 rebounds and 5 steals. 

He still showed some wild high school forays to the basket, and even got called for traveling when he drove and shot it up wildly, and then caught it in the air and came down with the ball even through it didn't hit the rim or backboard. But then he took it to the hole on the next possession and slammed it down hard. Which got them back to within two in the 3rd. Then Yabusele hit a jumper and broke open deep on the fastbreak to put them up two. 

He is so young that it is hard to say how good he can be, but after a year of NBA practices, constant shooting, and weight room work he could a star waiting to happen if he could just soften up his Jumper. "Iíve had practices for three or four days and Iíve played four games," Brown said. "Thereís a lot of defensive stuff, different actions coming at you fast. The pace of the game, itís all an adjustment. But I want to get better every day, and then when you look back a year from now or six months from now, youíll be in a good place." He looked better on offense, but still had one of those hard clangs from three that bounced up over the backboard in the 4th quarter of the last game.

He had a great steal early in the 4th, where he used his great suddenness to steal the ball after Portland rebounded a Celtics' miss, and drew a foul going to the hole. He hit both free throws to tie the game "That was crazy," Jerebko said. "Jaylen has some really nice moves. A great feel for the game. A good body." He drew two fouls late in the 4th to go from down two to up two, by hitting four straight clutch free throws.

They started doubling him late in the 4th, which is another sign he can be a star on the floor. But he decided to throw up a Three late when they were down Three, and clanged it off the rim and over the backboard again. Then he got a free lane to the basket and went high school by going up too early and missed the dunk. Then tried a horrible high school turnaround fall away Three to end the game. He still has some high school decision making that he has to get rid of.

He kept drawing fouls into the 4th quarter, and he hits his free throws. The stroke is there, he just has to extend the range to Three. "I think his range is real," James Young said. "Heís shown this whole time that he can hit that. Heís absolutely good enough to take the next step. Heís quick, athletic, and he can guard a few positions. Heís got a lot going for him." He is still five years away from being 25, when Larry first won it all, and seven and eight years away from LaBron's (27) and Michael's (28) ages when they won the a Championship for the first time.

All Hell Broke Loose Part III.

Terry Rozier: The Eye of the Hurricane.

By TOM

Let's not forget about Captain Clutch Terry Rozier. He looked like he took about five steps up this off season. "Heís been our best player from the first day of training camp this summer." Ainge said. "Heís been terrific for us. He was a good player last year in training camp. [He] just didnít get a lot of opportunities because of our depth at guard. I think heís winning a spot." He will get plenty of opportunities this year.

He was a lost little rookie early last year after being picked 16th in the Draft. "You just never know," Ainge said. "I think that the odds of the guys in the 20s making it and having a lasting career as a rotation player are slim. But if you look around the league, on every team, thereís guys that are drafted late in the draft, on every single team there are significant players. Having swings of the bat. Youíre going to get some right, youíre going to get some wrong. Guys are going to improve, guys are going to get to the NBA and thrive in the NBA game, where they might not have had as much success in college. You just never know about the draft." If not for Isaiah Thomas he could've had a shot at starting at PG this year.

He would be a guaranteed lock to start at the Point for the Sixers if they trade for Okafor. "My mind is slowing down," Rozier said. "Iím making better reads that allow me to play better, because they get me better opportunities." His jumper has not only been incredibly consistent, he has also been able to flash to the basket whenever he wants.

There's a reason the Celtics didn't even try to resign Turner. "Evan Turner not signing back to us," Rozier said. "We need somebody to step up, and I've got to be that guy." Turner was their clutch guy at the end of games. Rozier has been their clutch shooter, passer, and scorer at Summer League.

His clutch shot to win the San Antonio game was a thing of beauty, but he also hit a bunch of other clutch shots that lead to that miraculous big shot. "It's big," Rozier said. "I wouldn't sit here and lie to you and say it's not big. It means a lot that I can play and help our team get wins. But a lot of credit goes to my teammates." But he can take credit for all the obvious hard work on his game he did over the past year.

In the alleged Utah Summer League Champ game, he not only hit the shot of the entire Summer League, he was the Celtics' clutch weapon the whole 4th quarter. "I think heís winning a spot [in the rotation]," Danny said down in Utah. And I told all you all that he was their best player at Summer League before that game. "[I'm trying to prove] that I can step on the court next year and play a bigger role," Rozier said at the end of the Utah Summer League.

He started off the 4th quarter scoring by hitting Bentil on the pick and pop between the college arc and the NBA arc. Then he used a pick, and tried to take a big step past the switching Bigs on defense, and drew the foul to get his first two points of the 4th quarter. Those four points where the only points the Celtics scored in the first 5-minutes of the 4th quarter, and with 10-minute quarters down in Summer League that is half the 4th quarter.

So with just under five minutes to go, Rozier took it into his hands. He over dribbled a little to the left. But then went back to the right and hit an elbow Jumper to put them up 74-73. Then he missed a Three after the Spurs got a fastbreak layup. With under four minutes to go he drew another foul, but didn't shoot. Off the inbounds pass, Terry took it to the hole. Then he dropped a pass down to Yabusele for a layup. Yabusele was hammered as he shot and got two freebies. But Rozier was still on all the points in the 4th quarter as his pass lead to one made FT by Yabusele to tie the game.

The Celtics gave up a hoop on the other end through some tough D by Yabusele. And while the Spurs whined about the contact, Rozier took the inbounds pass and ran past all the Spurs like a runaway mustang and tied the game with a great one-man-fastbreak-layup. So he was still in on all nine 4th quarter points with about 3-minutes to go. Then he drove to the hoop and had to twist his body awkwardly to get the shot off, as a Big leaped over to try and block it, and missed. But he hustled after his miss and grabbed the ball and fought with the Spurs center until they called a jump ball. Which he wasn't going to win, but the hustle was nice.

However the Spurs scored off the jump ball, and Rozier had a bad turnover, which led to a fastbreak basket that put the Celtics down four. Jackson brought the ball up with under two-minutes to go and hit a Three. That was the only basket of the 4th quarter that Rozier didn't have a part in. Rozier got the ball back with 1:20, and you could see he was pissed about the turnover. He drive to the hole for an open layup, but missed because he was pissed. And that really was the only time I can remember seeing his emotions get the best of him. PG's have to be calm, cool, and collected. The Spurs went up 84-80 with 1:10 left, and it looked like the Celtics were done. 

Rozier got the inbounds pass and drew a foul driving to the hoop. He got the ball back, and drove left to the hoop. He switched to his right had to shoot the diving scoop. But a big came over, so he turned his body and extended his hand to the left in the air, and put it in. I think it is especially important for the point guard to be able to hit a layup with either hand.

Rozier has to switch unto the Spurs big scoring small forward Ryan Anderson on D. Rozier made him miss without fouling him to get the ball back with 34.6-seconds left. They couldn't get the ball to Rozier, and the Spurs almost stole the ball but it went out of bounds. Then Young hit Rozier breaking to the basket off the inbounds pass he hit the lay up to make it 84-86. The Spurs called timeout with 18.4-second left in the game, but had 14-second left on the 24 second clock. The Spurs got a shot up, and Rozier grabbed the rebound with 5.6-seconds left on the clock. 

The Celtics called timeout. Rozier said he was "gassed", but Ainge snuck over and told him that he was the man. "I don't care how tired you are," it was tweeted Ainge whispered into Rozier's ear during this timeout. "You've got to shoot the ball." James Young inbounded the ball to Guerschon posting on the right Angle. "I was kind of open for a second, so I called [Guerschonís] name," Rozier said. "He got me the ball, and I threw up a prayer. I was just like, 'I gotta hit it.' Us going against the Spurs, itís always down to the last shots. It was a fun game." He nailed the game winning shot, with the small forward Murray fouling him off the switch. 

It was the best clutch quarter for any player at the Summer League. He scored the Celtics finally seven points once they lost the lead, and would have had the final eight, but he had to miss his free throw on purpose after his historic three to get the clock running with 1.8-seconds left. He also was in on all 19 of the Celtics points in the 4th quarter, except Jackson's Three. Then he went and hit what was not only the best shot of the Summer League, it was also the most clutch shot in the Summer League from well beyond the arc while being fouled by the bigger player.

He also showed that clutch-gene in Boston last season. " If you remember last year, I hit a big [Three] in the corner [to tie the game with 2.5 seconds left)," Rozier said about hitting a clutch shot to tie a game with only seconds left on the clock. "Then they came down and hit a running floater to win the game." I do remember.

A true point guard has to be in complete control at the end of games when the pressure is swirling around him like a hurricane. "[His composure's been] really big, and weíve leaned on him," Shrewsberry said. "With R.J. and Jaylen not playing, heís really had to take on a leadership role, even more. But also a bigger scoring role." Rozier showed he was the eye of the hurricane down in Utah and Vegas.

All Hell Broke Loose Part II: 

No-No-No! A Thousand Times No.

By TOM

Oh My Goodness! I go on vacation for a week, and all hell breaks loose in Boston sports. First off the Celtics cannot trade for Russell Westbrook under any circumstance. "Sources indicate the Celtics are very much open to major moves," Steve Bulpett wrote. "But while situations certainly remain fluid and they have expressed interest in Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook in the past, there have been no discussions regarding those players in quite some time." Now that Durant has bailed and Westbrook will be gone after next season, OK City is in full reboot mode.

OK City has to demand a king's ransom for their top five NBA player. Then he will be gone to LA-LA Land next year. "Considering how strongly Ainge has praised Westbrook in the past, it is logical to conclude that he wouldnít mind having the Oklahoma City guard playing for his team. But there are several hurdles between here and that," Bulpett wrote, then added. "For the Celts to give up the kind of assets it would take to get one of the most talented players in the league, they would have to be convinced he would stay beyond the 2016-17 season ó the last on his contract." He will never be a long time Celtic. 

There is just no long term upside to trading for Westbrook. His heart and hometown is in LA-LA Land. The Celtics might be able to get D'Angelo Russell from LA next year in exchange for Westbrook's Bird Rights. And maybe best case scenario Brandon Ingram (not). Or Westbrook just goes to LA and signs the new in vogue two year opt-out deal until he is there for three years. That is a huge risk to risk the 2017 Swap of what could be another top three pick, only this time in a top talent Draft. No-no-no. Because there is massive long term damage if they allow OK City to rip the Brooklyn picks off their cold dead hands. No-no-no a thousand times no. 

They will start by demanding both Brooklyn picks, which cannot be bartered for a one year wonder. But the ex-Supersonics know Danny loves Westbrook. "Well, I feel the phones are definitely ringing," Wyc said. "Danny is definitely talking to people for sure. And has indicated that our work is not yet done." The problem is that everyone wants in on the Nets picks. If OK City realizes that they are in the middle of a fire sale, and the Celts could get Westbrook for Isaiah Thomas, a bag of beans, and a handful non-Nets picks than yes. Which is not insult to Thomas, it's just that Westbrook and Thomas have far too similar games to be on the floor together. They need the ball in their hands at the point to be stars, and Westbrook will be playing that role for 40-minutes a game next season, where ever he plays.

Which brings us back to the Celtics problem. They have enough assets to get any deal done, but everyone wants the Nets picks for their one year wonders. "If you're the Knicks or whoever, would you want Blake Griffin? I would. So I don't see what the story is," Doc Rivers said. "Call Pop (Popovich) and ask if he would like Blake. I think he'd say. 'Yeah, I think so. Yeah I think so. We had nothing to do with it." So the other problem is Blake Griffin. No-no-no.

You cannot give up the Brooklyn picks for Doc's one year wonder Blake Griffin. They are allegedly working on a 3-year deal to send Gay to LA and Griffin to the Celtics (not buying it). The good news is that Danny is sticking to his guns and refusing to give up the Brooklyn picks for a one year wonder. Griffin has one year left on his contract as well. Trading for a healthy Griffin without giving up a taste of the three Brooklyn picks could significantly change the face the East. Griffin has the size, athleticism, and Vert to slow down LaBron maybe significantly at Home (and maybe even shut down for a game or two in Playoff games in Boston), but so far not the heart.

Plus, there are now reports that Griffin's knee has a tear in it. "We looked into him, and weíre hearing thatís a pretty serious thing," a GM said. "Iím not saying you donít go after him, but youíd better be really sure about that leg before you go making any big commitments." No-no-no! To both deals no. A thousand times no.

But again it keeps coming down to those Brooklyn picks that they cannot give up. "Another sticking point in that and in other deals Boston is talking about is that pick from the Nets next year," a GM told Bulpett. "Danny will make it available in the right situation, but heís not going to give it up with core players, too. Thatís going to be a good draft, and thatís going to be a high pick. Everyoneís been talking about how Dannyís trying to make a killing out here, but when it comes to certain pieces you have, I get that you have to be careful. You can give up equal assets, but you donít want to take away your best opportunities to keep things going down the line." The Brooklyn picks are a boon for the Franchise that have turned into a curse this offseason as all the rebooters desperately want a piece.

I still think the deal that works the best is Okafor. "Oh, Danny definitely wants to do something," a GM told Bulpett. "Weíve got nothing that really works with Boston. But I bet something happens there." It just makes too much sense for both teams for it not to happen.

The Celtics are going to have to live with the fact they are looking at three to five years before they are a true contender. They are not going to get an instant fix as long as they have those Brooklyn picks. Jaylen Brown made such a vast improvement from his first comeback game to the last two that he is untradeable, but he is still three to five years away from being a real star in the NBA. Larry Bird didn't win his first Championship until he was 25. It took LaBron, who was closer to Browns age coming into the NBA, until he was 27. Michael Jordan was 28. The Celtics will be forced trade for another young player, Okafor, who can grow up with Brown and who ever they get in the Lottery with their Swap pick next year. 

Adding Horford, Rozier, Brown, and Okafor to last year's core makes them an instant adversary to Toronto for 2nd place in the East. Sacrificing Brown, the 2017 Swap pick, or the Nets 2018 pick to the alter of a one year wonder is bad business. Maybe they beat Toronto next year and battle LaBron in the East Champ game with one of them. Then what? Then bye-bye Russell, or bye-bye Blake, and bye-bye Lottery. And, they loose out on a player or two who could impact winning for 15-years. No-no-no. A thousand times NO!

All Hell Broke Loose Part I: The Sox.

By TOM

Oh My Goodness! I go on vacation for a week, and all hell breaks loose in Boston sports. The Sox finally make the trade for a desperately needed starting pitcher, and Red Sox Nation shows it true colors by booing it. I always used to say that the lowest form of humanity are Red Sox fans who call WEEI. I know less about Major League Baseball than Republicans who call Trump an unacceptable racist, but "I'm voting for him anyway because he has an (R) next to his name." To me, that is the new definition of coward Mr. Paul Ryan. Evil is as evil does. When you recognize evil you fight against him at all costs, and not join him like he is Adolph Hitler at a tea party!

NOTE: That this is a viable reference, because Trump proudly admits that he studies the speeches of the fascist dictators Hitler and Mussolini. "Donald Trumpís ex-wife Ivana related in a 1990 interview with Vanity Fair that 'from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitlerís collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed.' Trump confirmed that the former Mrs. Trumpís 1990 assertion is true." The only important thing you can learn from this article is that both Hitler and Mussolini were duly elected officials! Who once elected proceeded "to kill those who know more than they do (Bob Dylan)", to complete consolidate power. Then they said "you're fired" to their countries Democracies, and made themselves Emperors for life. They proudly turned their counties into the greatest evil the world has faced since the Dark Ages. This is no joke! "Donald Trump appears to take aspects of his German background seriously. John Walter [Trumpís cousin] works for the Trump Organization, and when he visits Donald in his office, Ivana told a friend, he clicks his heels and says, 'Heil Hitler,' possibly as a family joke."  Trump is planning a coup, not an election. If you think otherwise than you are just another sucker who got ripped off by a master conman.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program:

With my new definition of the lowest form of humanity aside, even I knew the Sox desperately needed a starting pitcher or two if they want to win some Playoff games. "It takes a lot of pitching prospects to end up with a championship-type pitching staff [because so many great young pitching prospects fail]," Preller said. "There's huge value in depth and numbers." Because so many great young pitching prospects fail.

They traded an 18-year old kid who won't be a starting pitcher in the Majors for four or five years, if ever. "Not an easy guy to deal," Padre GM Preller said. "Any time you have a left-handed starter that's performed the way he has, you have to feel very good about the return you're getting. We felt like we were getting a premium guy and someone who's been close to untouchable last year." He was a top 15 prospect, according to Baseball America.

But, did you also know that he was the youngest and furthest away from the Majors of the top 25 or so. "The youngest player in the South Atlantic League has flashed brilliance; remember, heís just 18." It also has to be pointed out that the Sox had three players in the Top 15 of that list, and Espinoza was the lowest.

They have the top prospect of the revised top 100 Prospects List in 2nd baseman Yoan Moncada. "So far, Moncada has managed to live up to the hype generated by his $31.5 million signing bonus." And the 9th rated player is outfielder Andrew Benintendi. "Benintendiís combination of batting eye, power, and defense is pretty special." Sox pundits said for weeks that they didnít want them to give up their top four prospects.

But no one mentioned Espinosa. They also didn't want Dombrowski to give up their next two top prospects. So they couldn't give up their 4th rated prospect according to the new list, because he was 2nd on the list at the beginning of the year. Funny how quickly thing change when you dealing with teenagers. So they can't give up 3rd baseman Rafael Devers? "Bostonís No. 2 prospect [now 41 on revised list] entering the season has shown ability to rebound after slow start; still just 19." Okay fine, but they can't give up their 5th rated prospect Righty pitcher Michael Kopech either. "Kopech has barely pitched this year thanks to hand and calf injuries, but when he has his fastball remains elite." So who was left off that list? Espinosa that's who.

So all the vitriol for this trade was stunning. I heard for weeks that nobody wanted them to give up one of the top four prospects who are most ready to play in the Majors for a starting pitcher. They didn't! "He was a high-profile July 2 sign, and pretty quickly lived up to the hype," Preller said about Espinoza. "Not ultra-tall, but we do think there's some physicality there to the body. He's filled out, started to put on weight. Our scouts talked about how easy his delivery is, how easy he does things. He throw strikes. As we looked at it and evaluated prospects and pitchers in the minor leagues, he was pretty much at the top of our board over the last year or so." But you have always had to give up the highest quality in order get a left handed All-Star pitcher. Do I no longer understand reality?

They gave up an 18-year old kid who is four or five long and dangerous years away from being a legit starter in the Majors. "Heís a youngster that we liked a great deal," Sox GM Dombrowski said. "He was a few years away from the major leagues. Not somebody that we wanted to give up." He is young and talented, but has a long way to go.

In return, they got a guy who will be starting in the Playoffs, this year. "Best case scenario, obviously you're contending and in first place and Drew's pitching in game one or two of the playoffs," Preller said about the Sox. "But we mentioned it all along: we're trying to build, acquire, and add to a talent base. It's a good scenario for us to get one of the top 15-20 prospects in baseball. And a guy, long-term, we think is going to be a big asset." Did you expect the Sox to give up a bag filled with a dozen properly inflated footballs and a 40-year old ball boy for an All-Star Lefty?

So the Sox just aren't ever allowed to trade a top 100 prospect in their system for an All-Star Lefty? "The first time I got traded, I was in the bullpen warming up for a game in Double-A and got called back in and got traded," Pomeranz said about being bounced around the minors like Trump's ridiculous hair when he is bouncing around in a bouncy house. "So that was probably the craziest it could be. Once I got traded the next time, it got a little easier. And then I get traded the next time. Itís just part of it. Itís part of the game." The fact is that you can call Espinoza their top pitching prospect, but the further away from the Majors a pitcher is the less likely he is to fulfill his vast expectations.

Like Ainge is fond of saying, "it takes two to tango." Other teams aren't "gonna-be ripped-off" just to make the Red Sox fans who call WEEI happy. "We think [he] makes us better now; Now, thereís a sacrifice for the future," Dombrowski said. "There are only a couple of pitchers we thought had a chance to be available that we thought would give us an upgrade on our pitching staff." A Pitcher who can help a Playoff Contender right now, is more valuable right now than a pitcher who might be able to help a Contender in four to five years. Even I know that, and I know nothing about baseball  or any of these guys.

 

Free Agents.

By TOM

C'mon Pats fans, I expect more from you. All this whining 

There is just too much great stuff going on in Free Agency to write about it all. But the hugest signing is the hugest guy in this years huge free agency class. How do you spell NT: K-n-i-g-h-t-o-n. He is, or rather was, a defense changer. I didn't study him as much once he was in Washington. But I did watch Washington a few times this year and their defense was phenomenal, especially right up the middle like every defense he has played in. So I have to give him credit for that.

My problem with this offseason was that I thought the Pats defense played it's best when Malcolm Brown and Hicks were on the field together. Loosing Hicks was a bigger loss then I think Patriots Nation thought. Plus, when you add in the loss of the great Chandler Jones, who is being disrespected for his talent and contribution to the team, those two guys really were the blindside of the Pats D-line. Losing them left a huge hole on the right and in the middle of the defense. Knighton is a huge guy who can fill a huge hole right in the middle of the Pats huge defense (every time I write huge now I hear that idiot megalomaniac Trump in my head, and giggle at how small he must be). 

Knighton isn't small. He stuffs the run as well as anyone in the NFL. "Myself, Iím a run stopper," Knighton said. "I take up a lot of room in the middle." The Pats need that. Plus he holds up blockers, and should allow Brown to shoot some gaps more. One of the hopes is that Knighton helps to free up Brown, who looks like he is developing into a star. Knighton was an immovable object in the middle. If he can play like he did in Denver, and that was only three years ago, the Pats got a steal.

But he is such a unique athlete who just keeps getting bigger. He played WR in high school. "Yeah, I was a wide receiver in high school," Knighton said. "You said that like you were surprised. I played wide receiver, a little tight end. I was actually All-State at wide receiver. Chris [Baker] always tried to mimic me but Chris has always been that size. I just got this big like in college. Chris has actually been that size since like fifth grade, so he has always been O-lineman, D-lineman for his whole life. Chris, heís just happy about life. He is high off life. Like I said, I am very proud of him and we are just going to have a lot of fun this year, especially with two personalities like me and Chris." It seems he hasn't stopped getting bigger. He ballooned up to 354 last season, and was simply too fat to play like he did in Denver.

What Knighton does best is play Nose tackle, and use his quick hands and feet to move laterally to the ball. "I think playing basketball, playing different positions in high school definitely helped with my foot speed and my hand quickness," Knighton said. "If you look at all the big guys that have played my position: Wilfork, Casey Hampton, Jamal Williams. You know, big guys in the middle. Shaun Rogers; Those type of guys are special because of their foot speed and their hand speed, and that's something that Iíve watched and I've watched over and over and over. I watched old film, new film on guys. One thing I always notice about is they're always in the right place. Their feet and their hands are accurate." Which is something he slowed down at doing last season, as he struggled with his endurance for the first time. 

This could signal a switch to more of a 3-4 again. "Throw ('em) in the rotation with Malcom Brown and Alan Branch," Albert Breer said, "and youíve got a good group of players that you can kind of rotate through there." Over his seven seasons in the NFL he has garnered: 24 Sacks, 230 tackles, and an odd 10 PBU. The massive run stuffer is still only 29-years old. Last season he did not fare well. He was said to lose steam in the 2nd Half, and only garner 29 tackles and 1.5 Sacks. 

So if Siliga and Kearse are equal JAG players inside, then the Pats are in good shape. I thought that Hicks was a top player on the defense. So Knighton has to be what he was at least. At his best he was a top five run stuffer, if not the top NT in the NFL. Last season he was busting the seams of his game shirt in all the wrong places. He went from a fat nose tackle to a sloppy looking waste of talent last season, who didn't have the stamina to play in the 2nd half. That will not be allowed to happen this season for the Pats. Take this warning Terrence. You better get into the best shape you have been in since you played for the Broncos, or BB will make you the fall-guy.

So if those guys are even we are still at a net loss on the D-line because of the loss of Chandler Jones. "(Mr. Jones) was somebody who would demand the attention of the offense and now youíre going to have to do a little bit more to generate a pass rush," Breer said. "But I think, overall, you look at it and I can understand why they decided to let him go. The main thing being, of course, that all those pieces on the defensive side of the ball and they werenít going to be able to sign everybody, so you want to get something for at least one of those guys." That will be my last Mr. Jones whine.

However, Knighton only had 1.5 Sacks last season. He looks sloppy on the field. He struggled to stay on the field because he was out of shape. "One person with knowledge of the situation," Mike Jones said, "said that Washington would have likely signed Knighton to a long-term deal this offseason had things played out differently for him in 2015" He went past fat and into sloppy looking in his uniform last season.

Which is not as big a problem for the Pats, because he will be in shape to start the season, or he will be gone. Plus, they like to rotate guys to keep them fresh more than any team in the NFL. When he was playing in better shape in 2014, he was a guy Washington wanted to give a long term contract too. So he better be ready to play, because if he is too fat and tired to stay on the field BB will make him the fat guy fall-guy.

Best case scenario is that he gets the message. Not staying in proper football shape cost him millions in garnered money last season. And he has to know that BB won't put up with those shenanigans. So he gets in shape and plays Nose Tackle like he did in 2014, when he was so good Washington thought they were going to give him some big money. Because he can control the middle of the line and allow guys next to him, Brown and Easley, to burst up field and disrupt plays more freely. Which just might offset the loses of Hicks and Mr. Jones.

I get the feeling the Knighton might be the fall-guy pick up. BB loves to get big named guys that everyone knows, and use them as the fall-guy. It's a tactic that Parcells liked to use. You cut a big name guy late in preseason, or early in the season, and it scares the cap out of players. It is the "if they can cut him, they can cut me" effect. Remember when they got Haynesworth. That team was a mess. Then they cut Haynesworth, and the team really came together. That was the best example of the "if they can cut him, they can cut me" effect. When you cut a guy who was Defensive Player of the Year only a few years earlier, that really scares the crap out of players by showing them how short the NFL life can really be. You better outwork everyone. You better listen to coaches, and do everything you can to keep alive on the roster. You better get in the film room and study, and learn every check, call, responsibility of your position. 

Knighton was a Probowler a few years ago (or at least he played like one for Denver against us). All the young guys and Draft picks will know who he is. If he comes into camp fat and sloppy like he did last year in Washington, and doesn't have the stamina to do the conditioning run, he will be the most valuable player in preseason for BB. He will be the big name fall-guy cut that scares the crap out of the young players. So he gets off his butt and works his way back into Probowler condition, or he becomes the cautionary tale that scares players into the obsessive work ethics that turns young guys into NFL players.

-------

McClellan is an interesting guy. He was the preverbal guy picked by the wrong team for the wrong system. He never fit in in Chicago, until they moved him to ILB. "We take everything into consideration when we evaluate players," Belichick said. "I donít know. Everything is a factor." He was playing like Jamie Collins in Chicago.

Which brings up my suspicion that they are worried about signing Collins, and McClellin is the backup plan. He can play the utility infielder at the linebacker position. "Itís not like we didnít want Shea McClellin," Fox said. "Youíd like to keep everybody, but itís the way it fits. There's the way it fits, there's number problems. Shea is probably an arrow-up guy." He has shown he can stuff the run a little inside, and showed he could bring some heat on the outside at Boise. He also seems to have a knack for coverage. The Bears liked to use him to cover tight ends and RBs. 

Plus. he has developed himself into a very good special teams player as he tried to find his spot on the Bears defense. "We add all the players that we added to our team we felt like to help our team," BB said. "Thatís why we added them. Weíll see how it goes." So he can also backup Collins and Hightower, and you could see him maybe backing up Ninkovich outside a little. I saw him in the Vrabel role when he was coming out. 

He is listed at 6-3, 245, and was an important piece of the Bears defense last season. "I like him," the DC of the CB Vic Fangio said. "His future is bright. Heís playing good for us. Obviously, we think heíll play even better as we move on through this season and in the future. His future is bright here as a linebacker." So we know that BB has a plan for him. 

The Bears didn't want to let him go, as you could tell by how Fangio talked about him. "I think Shea's probably an arrow-up guy," the HC Fox said. "I think heís settling in at inside linebacker. Historically, Bill and Matt [the DC] up in New England, they like guys who can play both [inside and outside] and can at times confuse the opponent. I think he's a smart, tough guy. Heís young. As we signed those other two [LBs], we kind of ran out of room." So he had to go for Cap reasons.  So it looks like the Pats stole a good one.

 

I Expect More From Pats Fans!

By TOM

C'mon Pats fans, I expect more from you. All this whining 

about the Pats not going to the free agent candy store, and getting you some sugar rushes is ridiculous. Remember last year when Miami won the Free Agent Frenzy Bowl. It allowed media guys to write articles like this, and say it was nothing similar to Albert Haynesworth mega deal that won Free Agency for Washington. 

Remember when Washington won the Free Agency Bowl in 2009, and flushed their franchise down the toilet, again, and they still haven't recovered. It allowed media guys to write stupid stories like this. Which of course lead the Cap destruction of Washington, and the mental destruction of Haynesworth (like we are currently seeing with Suh). He signed for 100-Mil, and then no longer wanted to do what the coaches told him to do. What a shock! Then media guys got to write stories like this.

They got signed Suh to start the free agency frenzy. They won the free agency Bowl, and have gone straight down hill since. That contract ruined Suh's great team first attitude, as he refused to play certain roles they wanted him to play. And destroyed their Cap to the point that is was a major contribution in the loses of Lamar Smith, Rishard Matthews, and Vernon. Now, they are asking Haynesworth, I mean Suh, to restructure his contract to save their asses.

In 2014 Tampa was pegged as the biggest winner on the first day of free agency, and they rode that awesome wave right to the 1st pick in the draft. The Giants and Colts were also winners and went straight down the poop-shoot last season. Atlanta was the fourth and has been in disarray ever since. 

The first week of free agency is for suckers. The Agents and media colluding for big stories that usually end up hurting teams and getting coaches and/or GMs fired. It allows media guys to write stupid stories like this. Then crucify teams for screwing up a year or two later, like this: How The Miami Dolphins Won NFL Free Agency And Sent A Message To Rest Of AFC East, yay. It took only a few months before the Suh stopped listening to his coaches, hurt the Dolphin scheme, and the media attacked. His coach defended him, got smacked down, and then got fired (Going Off Script). 
The 100-Mil money destroyed Haynesworth, and it looks like the 100-Mil is going to destroy Suh. "I couldnít tell you," Suh said. "At the end of the day, we have to go back to the drawing board and figure out what we want to run so guys can make plays and go from there." Or what Suh said more specifically, "Aaah-duuuh, it wasn't me." 
Free Agent Frenzy would be a sad joke played on moronic fans, if it didn't destroy teams so specifically. So long Jags Coach! You just won the Free Agent Frenzy Bowl, by giving up the preverbal 100-Mil contract, which came out to 90-Mil, to a guy with five sacks last season. Then spent another 100-Mil contract, which worked out to 85-Mil, on a guy who had 7 sacks. Then luckily lost Olivier Vernon

The funny news is that the Giants swooped in and gave Vernon a contract that averaged over 12-mil per Sack from last season. Which allows media types (like RALPH VACCHIANO) to write stupid things like this: "The Giants blew away the rest of the free agent market on Wednesday by landing the best available defensive end (Olivier Vernon), defensive tackle (Damon Harrison) and corner (Janoris Jenkins), but it cost them $193.75 million in contracts and $105.5 million in guaranteed money." 105.5-Mil in gar-un-teed money, yay. See-ya, wouldn't want to be-ya. The Giant's hierarchy has a chance to last the season, but not much longer. 

The worst part is that nether player was a scheme player. When you played the Broncos, you schemed against Miller and Ware. Malik Jackson was fourth or fifth on list of players teams worried about. He took advantage of all the attention he didn't get to produce five whole Sacks last season, yay. What is he going to do now that teams will start scheming against him specifically. Jackson is already stepping out of his role, and into a management role, like Suh did last year. He wants to earn all 90-Mil (LOL), but needs help, he said stepping into the coaches realm, like Suh. Vernon was not a top two player either, Wake and Suh where the guys talked about in offensive meetings before teams went to Miami. He may have been third, but now he should be one or two, with the financial security to become part of management. Does being schemed against by the offense specifically help or hurt his Sack total next season?

When you give these guys this much money, they become part of management whether you like it or not, and that never-ever-ever works in football. Football players are asked to sacrifice their body and future, like no other players in no other sports. If they step half an inch out of that role of utter sacrifice for their team than trouble always occurs.
So what does this have to do with the Pats? The Pats know this, apparently, more than most teams. Desperation oozes out of the winners of the Free Agency Frenzy Bowl winners, like racism out of the maniacal Trump's rallies (congratulation Republicans, you just created the greatest threat to our democracy, since Nixon bugged the DNC headquarters, and stole the '72 election, by creating the fascist-dictator-in-waiting Donald "the dumbass" Trump, AND IF YOU THINK "fascist" is the wrong word, then you need to know that he loves-loves-loves the speeches of Mussolini and Hitler, and studies their speeches as  bedtime reading. He is a clear and present danger to our democracy). As for who won the Free Agency Frenzy Bowl? Jobs will be lost. Tears will he shed. And the Pats will win again.

It is all the media madness, too many people lose sight of what the Draft and FA are all about. They are about team building. They are all about building a team that can win the Super Bowl. Winning the Free Agent Frenzy Bowl it the exact opposite of that. The Dolphins tanked last season, because they lost control of their team to Suh, and then couldnít afford to pay Lamar Miller and Rishard Mathews, two of the three most important weapons for their struggling QB Tannehill, because Suh's 28.55-Mil Cap figure was almost 20% of the Cap. Do think Tannehill will be better or worse this season without those two guys. That is not team building.

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Calling the Pats cheap is stupid, and I expect more out of Pats fans. That is the nonsense I expect from Jets and Dolphins fans. The Pats use free agency to fill holes in their roster. That is team building. They use free agency to sign their own guys. The top five players the Pats must sign this year? Who are they? They are: Jamie Collins, Malcolm Butler, Chandler Jones (crap!), Dont'a Hightower, and Rob Ninkovich. That is almost half their defensive starters. 

We interrupt out regularly scheduled programming for this annoying message:

Chandler Jones was just traded after I wrote this, "but he could be the player the Pats can't work out an extension with after the Olivier Vernon and Malik Jackson disasters, as it looks like the attempt to sign Howie Long's son is foreshadowing Mr. Jones leaving in free agency." So the Pats figured that they couldn't sign Jones after the insanity involving JPP and Vernon. If Vernon is worth 85-Mil, then Jones worth Suh money. 

NOTE: and of course before I can put this up the Pats sign Long. So you can look at it as Long and a 2nd for Jones and his Cap space. I'm not a big proponent of Cooper making a "HUGE!" impact. I had forgotten Howie was from Charlestown. "This is an opportunity and I am so thankful!!!" Chris Long tweeted. "Whatever it takes!!! See you soon Boston. GO PATS." It will be interesting to see how they use him. He might more of an inside rusher now, like the way they used Chris Jones. It will also be interesting to see if this moves Sheard over to the Blindside. Also, Walter had the Pats take Shilique Calhoun DE out of Michigan ST. I don't really agree with that pick, but it sure made me think. I have been comparing Calhoun to Jones, only he doesn't try as hard. But in big games, when he is going all out, he is a force. So if you want to see what it looks like in the 2nd right about now, take a peek

The problem the Pats faced is that they now have three young defensive stars all with contracts ending this season, and they knew they couldn't sign all four, and Ninkovich. It looked to me like Jones was the least likely, though I had him 3rd on my list, for them to be able to sign. And I originally had him 2nd on my Tweet of top five free agents for the Pats (@PatsDraft), but changed it here, because if they lose another Pro Bowl CB to free agency they are completely screwed. 

Plus, they started drafting replacement D-end for Jones last season, and signed Sheard. So there is only one reason to trade Mr. Jones, and that is because you knew you wouldn't be able to resign him in the current market. Getting a 2nd Round pick for one year of Mr. Jones is not a bad trade. I liked Cooper coming out of UNC. Though I didn't think he was a top ten pick. Nor do I think they need an interior O-linemen: Jackson, Mason, Kline, Andrews, and Stork are a full load of very young inside guys who will be better this season. But, he makes the team for one year, maybe, and then his contract is up.

He was probably a guy Coach Scarnecchia loved in the Draft. And no matter what happens the rest of Free Agency and the Draft, you cannot have better news than Scarnecchia returning. The O-line, with all it's players and returning veteran O-Tackles is going to be ten times better next season. And they are going to need the O-line to protect Brady like heck next season. Which they will with Scarnecchia at the helm. 

Now I'm not going to tear down Mr. Jones now that he is going, which seems to be happening. Jones was the third most important free agent on their defense this year, only behind Collins and Butler. To say otherwise is BS. I'll even give you Hightower with healthy knees, but that's it. His loss will be felt from Day One. The most important player on the roster suddenly becomes a healthy Trey Flowers. Sheard and Ninkovich will be fine on the strongside, but Jones was the man on the blindside. Giving up the guy who had 12.5 sacks last season is a big deal. The idea that his won't affect the defense is nonsense. However, he did seem to loose something in the field after his flight to Mars, when he woke up at the police station. 

So now the Pats have picks 60 and 61, which makes the Draft twice as interesting to me, but I'm not sure how much it helps them next season. Cooper was a great prospect coming out of UNC, who seem to fail because of injuries more than anything else. The Pats are hoping that the talent that he flashed at UNC can be pulled out of him by Scarnecchia. And if it doesn't work they still have the Five young guys who proved it on the field more than he did the past two seasons. 

Now back to our regular scheduled programming:

When you look at team building, last years Draft for the Pats was as much about free agency as team building. Drafting two D-Ends, Flowers and Grissom, was direct insurance for the contracts of Jones and Ninkovich. Plus, the Darryl Roberts pick in the 7th was direct insurance for Butler. They look so similar on tape sometimes that it is eerie. That is how the smart teams operate. Get young players at key times to develop, hopefully, into starters for free agents who are coming up. Not after they are gone, but before they are due for big money. Then if it doesn't work out they can pick up a second tier, or some 3rd tier, free agents.

Ninkovich is the second most likely gone (after Jones), because of his age. Sheard will take over more of the role as starter, and Flowers is a force waiting in the shadows. Sheard played his best in Rob's strongside linebacker role, and Flowers played mostly on the strongside at Arkansas before his senior season. 

The real problem that the Pats face in free agency this season is that Butler and Collins have developed into legit NFL stars, and Dont'a Hightower is not far behind. They have to sign them to extensions during the season. They cannot afford for them to the streets next March.

Hightower is the type of pure team first guy that could sign for a little less to help the team. Which is not a shot at Collins and Butler. Both are small school guys who worked their unique athleticism into stardom. They are going to demand big time Cap cash, and they deserve it. The question is can they sacrifice a few Mil to help the team. The only chance the Pats have of signing those five guys (now four) is if they all sacrifice a few Mil to each other to make a few more runs at the Super Bowl. Which is asking an awful lot when you put it terms of millions of dollars. But I think each is capable of leaving a few Mil on the table if they really want to stay with the Pats.

So while it is unrealistic think they could do it, there is a chance. But in the ironic news of the day, and I love my irony, the Ass-Monkey might have helped the Pats. Not having to pay a first round pick 2-4 Mil in 2017 means more money for our four big guys (who they now should be able to sign). It is one of those wonderful unexpected consequences that happens to bad guys upon occasion. So if the Pats are able to resign their top four free agents this season to extensions, you should all write a kindly and sarcastic thank you to the Ass-Monkey at your convenience. 

Also If you thought, wrote, or think the Pats will get any picks back from the Ass-Monkey than you are as stupid as a Trump supporter. The Ass-Monkey is a maniacal manic whose ego is all that matters to him, and he lies, cheats, and steals to protect it at all cost, just like Donald "dumbass" Trump. He will never relent in his insane, incomplete, and maniacal attack on Brady. Even if it cost the NFL 100-Mil to go to the Supreme Court to try and prove his lies are the truth again, so he can prove he has the biggest dick in the world, and beyondÖ By the way, here's a little lesson in basic psychology for all Pats fans: the more you say, yell, or talk about how "huge" you are at everything, the smaller you are in the pants. 'Nuff said. 

YUCK!

By TOM

The loss to Denver was brutal. The only reason I could find for them to lose was that wacky things happen to the Pats in Denver, like losing because of a missed extra point. Wacky things like an epic fail for the best coaching staff in the League. When you motto is, "Just do your job", and then the coaches just don't do their job it is tough to win. When you do things a certain way all year, and then chose to change it, that is not doing your job.

When you do things a certain way all season long, like deferring to the 2nd Half which really defined you as a team nationally for some reason, and then you change doing what you do. That was the wrong message to send the players to start the game. It told the players that this game was different. That maybe they were a little ah-scared. That maybe just doing your job wasn't enough to beat this team. "First of all, I want to congratulate Denver on an AFC Championship," BB said. "They have a good football team. They're well-coached. They have a lot of good players. They played a bit better than we did today. I'm proud of our guys. They fought right to the very end, like they always do. We just couldn't quite make enough plays, obviously. It's disappointing. It was a disappointing result. There were a lot of big plays in the game. Any one of them probably could have made a bit of a difference. I just think we all feel, as coaches, players, it's such a fine line today between winning and losing that we all could have just done a little bit more and it might have had a different result, but it wasn't. It's a crash landing to the end of the season like there usually is in the National Football League." To me that "little bit more" started with changing the way you have started the game, every game over the past two or three seasons, for no apparent reason at all. That clearly said to the players, "just doing your job" was not good enough (I might still be overreacting to the loss).

But in the end it just wasn't enough. Even though they had another dramatic, heart-wrenching, and impossible comeback as time was expiring. That just wasn't good enough in Denver, again. "I would say it was a combination of things," BB said. "Again, I thought Denver did a good job defensively. It's all interconnected between the receivers, the quarterback, the offensive line, the timing, the execution, the balance in the running game, longer yardage situations. I mean, it's all part of it, and in the end it just wasn't as good as what it needed to be yesterday, period, in any area. I wouldn't put in on any one guy or any one situation or one position or anything like that. It was just, in the end, we came up short." They played with the heart of a Champion all season long, and were done in by two two wacky and improbable loses in Denver. Where they have been cursed since the 70s.

This years team was so tough and resilient, and deserved better. "Yeah, we evaluate that every year, and that's always part of it," BB said. "We go back and look at the previous year, look at historically the information that we have: what the nature of the injuries were, where they happened, what the circumstances were, practice, game. Whatever it is, and try to find trends or try to find ways based on the testing of the athletes prior to their injuries. Whether there was any type of indication that there might be a vulnerability in some particular body part or imbalance or whatever it happens to be. So we're always working on that. Continue to do that as much as we can. Try to stay ahead of it." In the end they couldn't overcome the loses of Nate Solder and Dion Lewis.

They led the NFL in games missed by starters, and still should have won the AFC Champ Game and gotten to the Super Bowl. Remember, they essentially had to throw away the last two games of the Regular Season due to injuries. They made the strategic decision that it was better to get their superstars healthy than beat the Jets and Dolphins on the road. It was a decision that I agreed with, and still think could have worked. You have to remember that Denver was falling apart at the seams. They had lost 4 of their last 7 games, and had just lost two straight as the Pats were heading to New Jersey in week 16. It was a calculated risk that they won at first. They were finally healthy in the First round of the Playoffs against KC. But, Denver somehow won their last two games. And of course the League finally succeeded in screwing the Pats in the end. Setting up the Schedule so Denver's last two games are at Home. While the Pats last two games were on the Road against their two fiercest Division rivals. 

The game is over, and we're one of two teams to come up just a hair short of the Super Bowl. "I'd say after going through the game this morning, I feel pretty much the same as I did last night," BB said. "I have a lot of respect for the way our team competed. I'm proud of it. [We] had guys battling right to the very last play with a chance to tie or win, however you want to look at it. I think each of us that competed in the game, players, coaches, all feel the same way: probably a couple plays, couple calls, couple whatever, that we'd all like to have back. In a close game like that, I think you always feel that way. This is no different. Denver is a good football team. We had some opportunities, but in the end just came up a little bit short and that's obviously a disappointing feeling at this time of the year. [Weíll] turn the page here and move on, and start the process all over again. That's where we're at." If that game was anywhere else than in Denver they win. In Foxboro it is a blow out, and on a neutral field it isn't close. 

But now the season is over, and we have to get past the wreckage. "No. No, it's the same basic feeling 31 teams," BB said. "30 other teams have [that sick puky feeling their guts], and another team is going to have it next week. We've been in those situations. We've been on all sides of it. We've been on the good side of it. We've been where we are today, so that's life, we move on." Time to move on.

So the gears have shifted into the off season. "Well, we'll take care of that game first," BB said. "I've already done that. Although there is more to do, but I'll do that first and then move ahead. But we have a lot of things to do today with the players coming in. [Itís] the last time we'll see some of them for a period of time here, so there are definitely some things to take care of with the team." Like deciding if the rookie CB who never was, the dread pirate Darryl Roberts, will be healthy enough to take over the third CB job this season.

So they have to study everything they did from top to bottom all season long. "We look at everything," BB said. "We look at everything. We look at various points in the year and look back on training camp, the draft, OTAs, each and every game, end of the season. We do all that. And we critique ourselves. We critique all the things. We do it all. We try to find areas we can improve in, and we try to address those." According to my Team Needs from last years Draft, the areas they still need to improve on are at: CB, WR, and RB.

Now it's time to start preparing for the Draft and the 2016 season. "We'll do the same thing we do every year," BB said. "We'll look at everything that we did, try to analyze that. We'll look at whatever the opportunities are going forward and whatever areas those fall in, make the decisions that we feel are best for the team to improve. Same thing we do every year. There's no change." Senior Bowl, Combine, Free agency, Pro Days, bringing players in, and the Draft.

Like all Playoff teams they are behind in Draft preparations. "Well there are a lot of steps," BB said. "There are a lot of different areas here to talk about. We're entered into the whole draft process, which we haven't, I personally haven't touched. We have other people in our organization. There's the team building. There's the schematics. There are other things that come up, some of which I don't even know what we're talking about yet, that will happen over the next whatever time frame." They have a lot of work to do.

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PatsFanMock12@yahoo.com

The dogs on Main St howl Because they understand.

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