We’re past the midweek point now that it’s Thursday, and here’s a quick rundown of this morning’s top stories:
Goodell – “no change to the discipline” – With millions of dollars invested in an investigation where NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has everything to lose, the delusional man running the billion dollar league told reporters on Wednesday that he received the letter submitted by Patriots owner Robert Kraft regarding their draft picks and Tom Brady, but it’s not going to change anything.
“I responded to him two weeks ago and told him that I had considered his views and I didn’t think there was any new information in there that would cause us to alter the discipline,” Goodell said Wednesday. “So there will be no change to the discipline.”
The commissioner remains steadfast at suspending Brady to begin 2016 after getting his initial suspension overturned in court before the start of last season, and recently presented the NFL’s case in the most recent appeal that, according to observers who were there, didn’t exactly go in Brady’s favor.
Meanwhile, as far as the first and fourth round picks are concerned, there’s been some speculation that the other owners are the ones who were quietly pushing Goodell to stay the course on that punishment given their obvious envy of the Patriots, who have won double-digit games in every season dating back to 2003, along with four Super Bowls and six Conference Championships over that span.
Sirius XM radio host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo more or less confirmed that, telling Kirk Minihane in a podcast that he’s spoken with nine NFL owners who revealed that the Deflategate discipline handed down by Goodell was more about getting back at Robert Kraft than it was about taking down Brady. He said that the owners he spoke with admitted that Brady being out on the field is actually better for television ratings and that hitting Kraft with a fine and weakening his team by taking away a first round pick was enough of a win for them.
“They want to get TV ratings,” Russo told Minihane, via WEEI.com. “’Do you think we want Goodell to suspend the best player in the league? Its star? For the first four games of the regular season, which includes a game against the Cowboys and the first opening Thursday night game of the year?”
“‘We got Kraft. We don’t like Kraft. We got him already,” said Russo, explaining what he heard about the mindset from the owners he spoke with. “We nailed him for a million dollars, and he lost a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick. And we made sure that Kraft did not appeal it because we all bombarded him at the owners’ meetings and said ‘Bob, you’ve got no support here. Do what you have to do. You have no support. Nobody is going to back you up.’”
Russo said that despite accepting the penalty, all Kraft did was make the guys who hung him out to dry happy.
“So Kraft took the sword and that was the end of it,” said Russo about the mindset of the other owners. “‘We didn’t need Brady too. We got Kraft.’”
And whether or not they’ll get Brady as well still remains up in the air.
The bias against this team is well-known but the fact this is even allowed to continue given the lack of facts or evidence just defies logic and may go down as one of the most angering and frustrating situations in the history of this franchise, especially if Brady ultimately gets knocked out of the first quarter of the season in 2016.
If the legal system ultimately fails them, the battle is more or less over. Given the circumstances, it’s already tough enough for Kraft to protect his team against 31 jealous owners and one lunatic who seems like his goal is trying to make himself look like a tough guy, and Goodell’s last remaining ambassador certainly isn’t going to do him any favors since the bridge is already burned with Brady. Since the relationship is irreparable at this point, why not hit him where it hurts the most while he has the chance? He’ll get to damage Brady’s legacy while sending a message to the rest of the players that no one is safe, even without hard evidence or proof.
That’s certainly a scary thought and while the other owners are all smiles for now, some day it may happen to them. If that’s the case, we’ll see just how funny they really think it is.
Arians ‘Shocked’ that Jones was available – When it comes to personnel moves here in New England, we generally don’t find out much as it pertains to trades and other signings. However, occasionally the other side spills some details and on Wednesday, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians revealed that it was New England who initiated things by looking to Arizona as a suitor in the deal that sent Chandler Jones to the desert.
When the Patriots called, Arians admitted he was surprised, but he’s happy to have him.
“I was shocked,” said Arians via the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe. “(General manager) Steve Keim did an unbelievable job working with them and finding the right fit in the trade. We went into the offseason wanting to improve our pass rush. Free agency wasn’t what we were looking at as far as dollars for certain guys. That cured us for a long time. They got something they needed. We got something we needed. I think it was a great trade for both sides.”
With extensions hopefully coming up for Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins, the loss of Jones wasn’t a surprise given the value those two players have in building the Patriots’ defense for the future. Moving Jones freed up money and allowed them to get a second-round pick for this season, along with adding some potential depth on the offensive line thanks to the acquisition of Jonathan Cooper.
Arians praised Cooper, telling ESPN’s Mike Reiss, ” I think he is still going to be one heck of a player,” but said bad luck has been what’s hurt him so far.
“He came in and was the player and athlete we thought he was,” said Arians.. “He was doing great, then he breaks a leg. Next year he gets a high ankle sprain and struggles through that. Gets an MCL the next year. He always had an injury and could never make the jump to what we thought he could be.”
Hopefully Cooper finally reaches his potential here in New England.
Fisher on Patriots DE Chris Long: He’ll ‘be a factor’ – Chris Long had some success during his time playing under Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, so his former coach knows him pretty well. Fisher told the Boston Herald on Wednesday that now that the former Rams’ DE is in New England, the opportunity is certainly there for Long to do great things.
“There’s no holes there,” Fisher told the newspaper. “He’s great, really consistent day in and day out over the years, loves to come to work, always had a great attitude, playful, jokes around the right way, works hard. When he was 100 percent healthy, he would really, really go for us. Obviously, the last couple years, injuries set him back. We released him, and then 10 days later he texted me a picture of his newborn. He’s that kind of player that a head coach or an assistant coach will stay in touch with for a long, long time after he’s done playing.”
The Patriots signed Long to a one-year $2.375 million contract, which is obviously a low-risk move but if he’s able to contribute, it’s certainly a big help to a Patriots team that heads into 2016 likely hoping to be even more disruptive on the defensive side of the football. It’s a tough task, especially while trying to replace the production of a player like Jones who logged 12.5 sacks last season. How much of that Long is able to fill remains to be seen, but it sounds like he should be a fun player to watch in the coming months.
RB Lewis in Good Spirits: ‘I’m Never Going to Quit’ – The loss of Dion Lewis was a big one to the Patriots last season after the running back suffered a torn ACL, but he’s been hard at work this offseason trying to get himself ready to come back in 2016 and make an impact.
Lewis, who is a native of Albany New York, spoke to NEWS10 ABC and sounded upbeat as he continues working his way back.
“I’m very strong minded, so I’m not going to let anything like this – no injury – stop me from working or doing what I feel like I’m capable of doing,” Lewis told reporter Josh Rultenberg. “And I’m going to keep going and I’m going to keep working. I’m never going to quit, and that’s just the way I am.”
That’s good news for Patriots fans, who definitely should be looking forward to seeing a player who averaged close to five yards per carry and scored four touchdowns last season back in the line-up in 2016.