Jan 6th 2009 10:48AM by Michael David Smith (author feed)
Filed under: Falcons, Patriots, NFL Coaching, NFL Media WatchNew England Patriots coach Bill Belichick got one vote among the 50 members of the media who selected the Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year, and that one voter is none other than NBC’s NFL studio host, Bob Costas.
Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe contacted Costas to ask why he voted for Belichick, rather than Falcons coach Mike Smith or Dolphins coach Tony Sparano, who were by far the two top vote getters, with Smith edging Sparano by one vote. Costas replied:
“I thought he deserved a nod for what might have been the best, or certainly one of the best coaching jobs of his career,” Costas said. “He loses [Tom] Brady, and it’s not just losing Brady, but also that [Matt] Cassel basically never played. It’s not the same thing as losing Johnny Unitas and you have Earl Morrall. He brought the kid along.”
I don’t ever recall a coach getting any Coach of the Year recognition after a season in which his team’s win total declined by five from the year before. Then again, I don’t ever recall a coach leading a team to a 16-0 record, then losing his MVP quarterback in the first game of the following season, only to go 11-5 with a backup quarterback who had never even started a game in college, let alone in the NFL.
I probably would have gone with the plurality who selected Smith, but I don’t have a problem with Costas’s choice. The argument for Belichick as coach of the year is a legitimate one.
Jan 3rd 2009 1:33PM by Michael David Smith (author feed)
Filed under: Bengals, Patriots, NFL Media Watch
When the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year voting was tallied, it was no surprise that New England Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo was the runaway winner, with 49 votes on the 50-member media panel, chosen by the Associated Press.
But it was a big surprise that the one other vote went to Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers, who played in only seven games all season. How on earth could anyone pick Rivers over Mayo? To find out, I asked the guy who voted for Rivers, Jay Paris of the .
Via e-mail, he told me he had no excuse — he just made a mistake and voted for Rivers even though he acknowledges that the award should have gone to Mayo.Continue Reading
Jan 4th 2009 10:35AM by Ryan Wilson (author feed)
Filed under: Browns, Chiefs, Patriots, AFC East, AFC North, NFL Fans, NFL Coaching
Patriots vice president Scott Pioli is taking his sweet time getting back to the Browns about that GM job. Despite reports that Pioli had to make a decision last Thursday or the deal was off, the Browns are still interested in the guy who played a very big role in assembling those New England rosters that won three Super Bowls earlier this decade.
So now Cleveland waits. Pioli still has to meet with the Chiefs, and depending on how it plays out, Browns owner Randy Lerner could opt to hire a head coach and worry about finding a general manager later. According to the ’s Mary Kay Cabot, Eric Mangini is the early favorite, although other names are also in the mix. Two other head coaching candidates — fired Broncos coach Mike Shanahan and Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz — are on the backburner for now. Shanahan was contacted by the Browns, but told them he will be on vacation with his family for the next two weeks and will not interview during that time, a source said.
If the Browns haven’t hired a coach by then, they might still reach out to him. If the Browns haven’t hired a coach by then, their fans will have already burned down the city.Continue Reading
Jan 2nd 2009 1:45PM by Adam Gretz (author feed)
Filed under: Patriots, NFL Free AgencyThere’s no question Tom Brady’s knee injury way back in week 1 was bad news for pretty much everybody involved with the New England Patriots. Well, everybody except for Matt Cassel, who is set to enter a new tax bracket this offseason.
After being somewhat of a surprise to make the team out of training camp — he was awful in the preseason — the fourth-year pro who hadn’t started a football game since he was a senior in high school, took over the Patriots offense and helped guide them to an 11-5 record. Actually, there were a few games where he was nothing short of brilliant, throwing for 400 yards in back-to-back games in mid-November, and ending his season with eight touchdown passes to only one interception over the final four weeks of the season.
The beauty of it for Cassel is the fact he is now in the drivers seat as an unrestricted free agent. He’s positioned himself to get, I’m guessing, a rather large offer from some desperate team in dire need of a quarterback — like Detroit, for example — or get slapped with the franchise tag in New England.
Either way, he’s going to be financially set for life.
Here’s where this is all going: Mike Lombardi, former NFL general manager and current contributor to National Football Post, is convinced the Patriots will make Cassel their franchise player this offseason.Continue Reading
Dec 31st 2008 11:45AM by Adam Gretz (author feed)
Filed under: Patriots, NFL Fans, NFL AwardsDespite having their first-round pick taken away for their , the New England Patriots still had a first-round pick in the 2008 NFL draft, thanks to a shrewd deal during the 2007 NFL draft that landed them San Francisco’s pick in ‘08. And because the 49ers were pretty lousy in 2007, the Patriots ended up with the No. 10 overall selection following a 16-0 regular season, and a trip to the Super Bowl.
With the No. 10 pick, the Patriots selected linebacker Jerod Mayo from the University of Tennessee, and he became an instant star in the New England defense, starting every game for the Patriots and recording 128 tackles (five for loss), four pass defenses, and a forced fumble. For his efforts, Mayo was named the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year on Wednesday, picking up 49 of a possible 50 votes.
According to Pro Football Talk, the 50th vote went to Bengals rookie linebacker Keith Rivers for the seven games he played during the season. I’m going to take a wild guess and say Rivers’ vote came from someone who happens to work Cincinnati. If you’re not going to vote for Mayo, who was pretty obviously the best rookie on the defensive side of the ball, the No. 2 choice probably should have been Arizona’s Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for his 19 pass defenses, four interceptions, blocked kick and one touchdown.
Jan 1st 2009 10:45AM by Ryan Wilson (author feed)
Filed under: Browns, Patriots, AFC East, AFC North, NFL Fans, NFL Coaching, NFL RumorsA year ago, the Browns, having just missed the playoffs with a 10-win season, headed into the new year with high hopes for the future. They had young, emerging stars at quarterback, wide receiver and tight end, and head coach Romeo Crennel was about to sign a contract extension for his role in the organization’s turnaround.
Apparently, six months of unwatchable football is all it took to undo all that. Last Sunday, general manager Phil Savage had to turn in his Blackberry, and a day later, Crennel was kindly asked to do the same.
Now, the team has two front-office vacancies, and owner Randy Lerner wasted very little time interviewing Patriots vice president Scott Pioli to replace Savage. The two met yesterday and according to the , Pioli must decide today if he’s going to take the job. The issue: Pioli’s demands are so ridiculously high that the Browns aren’t sure he’s serious about leaving the Patriots.Continue Reading
Dec 29th 2008 1:30PM by Sportz Assassin (author feed)
Filed under: Broncos, Buccaneers, Cowboys, Jaguars, Jets, Packers, Patriots, Redskins, NFL PlayoffsWe all know the 12 teams that will be in the NFL playoffs, all of whom (mostly) deserve to be there.
The bigger story may be who won’t be in the playoffs. There were several teams that came into the season with big dreams while others had a nice start to the season. Yet they still didn’t make it.
In the 2000s, only one team lost a Super Bowl and made the playoffs the next season. We love pointing that out, but never imagined that could happen to these Patriots. New England just came off an undefeated regular season and lost the Super Bowl in the game’s final moments. But all it took was an injury to Tom Brady to put the season in doubt. Matt Cassel did a great job filling in, but injuries to the stable of running backs and a defense that, at times, looked its age forced New England slip up just enough to miss the playoffs.
They will be only the second team with 11 victories to not make the playoffs. To many, it is justice to see the Pats not in the postseason despite having a better record than four teams that will be.Continue Reading
Dec 28th 2008 12:05PM by Ryan Wilson (author feed)
Filed under: Patriots, AFC East, NFL Fans, NFL Injuries, NFL Rumors, NFL Free Agency
Tom Brady’s season ended back in Week 1 and he spent the next four months having knee surgery and mustering the courage to ask for his ladyfriend’s hand in marriage.
Good news: SHE SAID YES. Bad news: Brady’s rehab is behind schedule, which could complicate the Patriots’ offseason quarterbackin’ plans. Specifically: what to do with Matt Cassel, Brady’s backup who has fared surprisingly well as the starter.
NBC.com’s Tom Curran has the details on Tommy Terrific’s knee:Continue Reading
Dec 27th 2008 8:00PM by Adam Gretz (author feed)
Filed under: Bills, Patriots, NFL Fans, NFL Playoffs, FanHouse Previews
During the opening week of the season, when Kansas City’s Bernard Pollard rolled into the knee of Tom Brady, I, like many, just assumed that the Patriots’ season was pretty much finished before it even started. I mean, they were going to be turning the keys of their high-powered offense over to Matt Cassel, a seemingly anonymous guy that had to struggle to make the team out of training camp, after spending the first three years of his NFL career — and his entire college career — riding the bench.
Yet, 16 weeks later, here we are and the Patriots not only have a chance to finish the season with an 11-5 record, they have a chance to make the playoffs and/or win the AFC East. Granted, they have to win, and they need some help, but it’s been a season that even the most vocal Patriots haters have to be surprised by. Especially when you consider the other injuries the team suffered throughout the season. I’m talking about Rodney Harrison, Laurence Maroney and Adalius Thomas, just to name a few.
Frankly, this might be the best coaching job of Bill Belichick’s career, assuming, of course, he didn’t cheat. Kidding! I think.
The Patriots close out the regular season at 1 PM ET on Sunday in Buffalo, where they will be taking on a struggling Bills team that is currently on a 2-7 slide after starting the season 5-1. For the Bills, it’s all about playing spoiler because misery loves company, or something.
New England gets in with:
1) A win and a Jets win (Gives New England the division)
2) A Jaguars win (Gives New England the wild card)Continue Reading
Dec 28th 2008 10:00AM by Ryan Wilson (author feed)
Filed under: Bears, Bills, Patriots, Texans, AFC East, NFC North, NFL Fans, NFL Playoffs
The Patriots need to beat the Bills today if they’re to have any chance to make the playoffs. Originally scheduled for a 1PM EST kickoff, 50-mph wind gusts could push back the start, and when the game eventually gets underway, the conditions will almost certainly wreak havoc on the players, strategy, Bill Belichick’s wig, etc.
NFL Network’s Scott Hanson drew the short straw and is currently on location in Buffalo, and he reports — between the 50-mph wind-aided punches to the face — that the goal posts have been blown sideways. And while the grounds crew can fix the problem (with a little rope and a level), it could be an ongoing issue all afternoon.
Hanson also explains that the team benches have been moved against the stadium walls because they had previously been rolling through the playing field like tumbleweeds. Hanson’s colleague, Adam Schefter says that commissioner Roger Goodell, currently in Baltimore, “is being apprised of this situation. … The league will decide whether or not action will be taken.”Continue Reading