Good morning, here are Sunday’s Patriots news notes and what’s happening around the division.
Kansas City to Play Here in Divisional Round: When the Patriots take to Gillette next Saturday afternoon, they now know their opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs. Andy Reid’s charges have won their 11th game in a row an absolute blowout 30-0 over the Houston Texans.
The Chiefs took the drama out of that one early as Knile Davis took the opening kickoff 106 yards for a touchdown and they never looked back. Brian Hoyer had a nightmarish first half turning the ball over four times.
PatsFans.com Ian Logue already has a post on how the Pats are “on to Kansas City.”
Patriots Team Building takes to the lanes: In the past two postseasons, Bill Belichick took his team to the movies during the team’s bye week. In the 2013 season, Belichick took the team to see “Lone Survivor” with Mark Wahlberg. And last season another Navy SEAL flick “American Sniper” with Bradley Cooper was the choice.
But this season the team spent Friday bowling. No word on who is the team’s best bowler but my best guess would be a Mid-Westerner, perhaps Rob Ninkovich who played for Purdue would be man to beat on the lanes.
Lions Pluck Pats Bob Quinn to Be New GM: The Detroit Lions made a bit of a surprise move when they tabbed Patriots Director of Pro Scouting Bob Quinn to be their next GM. The Lions have traditionally hired from within and Quinn’s hiring is the first time in a while that they’ve broken the mold.
Quinn, a Massachusetts native worked his way up the ladder with the Patriots and got increasingly more responsibility put on his plate with the team during the Bill Belichick area. He started as a player personnel assistant and moved up to pro scout, regional scout, national college scout, assistant director of pro scouting and then finally director of pro scouting.
The Patriots must have known about Detroit’s interest early in the process as Belichick spoke about the job he’s done earlier this week. “Been with us for a long time and has had a number of different responsibilities in the scouting department…pro, college, advance, different projects and all that. He’s done a real solid job.”
Quinn has two big decisions to make immediately with the Lions. First, do they keep coach Jim Caldwell or begin a new search. And how do they approach Calvin Johnson and keep “Megatron” around for one more season. I would think Quinn will keep Caldwell around for at least one more season; the hot finish and his popularity with the players would allow him a season to turn things around for them in the NFC North.
Dave Ziegler is the heir apparent to take over Quinn’s position with the Patriots.
Bengals Meltdown Shouldn’t Be Surprising: With the game seemingly in their grasp, the Bengals had a complete meltdown in the final minute and did their best to ensure that their playoff futility run reached another season.
Not to take anything away from the efforts of Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense who came off the bench hurt and led his team to a winning field goal but was that final minute a microcosm of Marvin Lewis’ complete tenure as the head coach of the Bengals?
After a Landry Jones interception sets up Cincinnati with a chance to run out the clock and kick a field goal to put the lead at four points and force Pittsburgh into having to score a touchdown with less than a minute to go with no timeouts, they failed.
On first down Jeremy Hill coughs up the football and the Steelers immediately get the ball back. Roethlisberger, who been here before calmly picked his way underneath to move the Steelers to midfield with under 30 seconds to go.
Then Vontaze Burfict, who although had played brilliantly, was also close to being over the edge all game long took a stupid penalty by targeting Antonio Brown’s head with a vicious elbow shot that was completely uncalled for. That set the Steelers up in field goal range. To make matters worse, Adam Jones then took an even dumber penalty to now make the field goal much easier, one of the extra point variety.
Lewis’ teams are always one of the most talented and least productive in the league. His players let their emotions go out of control even after talking with Burfict prior to the Steelers final drive on the sideline. It was an ugly display, made even worse by the despicable acts of many of the fans who pelted Roethlisberger with trash and cheered as he was carted off to the locker room after suffering a shoulder injury.
One has to think that the Bengals need to be looking hard at Lewis’ tenure once things reach the cold realization that this was completely preventable and they not Pittsburgh should have been moving on in the playoffs. This has been the norm rather than the exception with his tenure. Lewis has run a very loose and leaky ship with the Bengals. And it isn’t getting any better as Saturday night’s debacle shows.
Edelman, Hightower and Vollmer Needed For Stretch Run: Hopefully the bye week will have given many of the Patriots walking wounded, including WRs Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, LB Dont’a Hightower, T Sebastian Vollmer and others a chance to heal and be ready to go for the divisional round game against the Chiefs.
Edelman has been practicing the past few weeks but it’s still really unknown how healthy he is and how effective he’ll be in his return from a broken foot. Dallas’ Dez Bryant had a similar injury and was largely ineffective as his foot still hadn’t healed properly when he returned.
A look at the injuries suffered in the first two WildCard weekend games shows why the Patriots value having a bye week so much and how important it is.
East Bound and Down…Notes Around the AFC East:
Dolphins Make a Good Choice, Name Gase HC: The Miami Dolphins ended their coaching search early in the process, naming Adam Gase as their next head coach.
Gase becomes the youngest head coach in the NFL and in addition he’ll have the play-calling duties as well as having a final say in the team’s 53-man roster. He’s been the offensive coordinator of both the Broncos and the Bears.
His hiring is expected to have a positive effect on QB Ryan Tannehill, something Gase has done well with. He worked with Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow in Denver and Jay Cutler in Chicago this season.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2015 NFL Season 2015 Patriots Season Adam Jones AJ McCarron Bill Belichick Cincinnati Bengals Danny Amendola Jeremy Hill Julian Edelman LaGarrette Blount Marvin Lewis New England Patriots NFL Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers Rob Gronkowski Rob Ninkovich Sebastian Vollmer Tom Brady Vontaze Burfict