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New England Patriots News 10/23, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
7 years ago at 5:00 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary

Good morning, here are Sunday’s Patriots news 10-23, and AFC East Notes for this week.

Belichick Talks Legends:
Bill Belichick talked about his favorite subject, NFL history and much more on Friday, touching on a variety of subjects including Steelers’ greats Chuck Noll and Jack Lambert, and even Mick Jagger and Celtics’ legend Bill Russell.

When speaking about NE safety Duron Harmon, Belichick mentioned him as a “silent leader” in the locker room and on the field. It’s where he brought up the Russell comment stating, that he learned this from the Celts legend.

“Bill Russell taught me this,” Belichick said. “In a way, a silent leader in some respects is more powerful than a more vocal leader. You hear the vocal guy, you’re very aware of it, but then there are guys that give you that quiet leadership in a way that is more powerful because it’s not quite out there as much. But it’s that quiet push that sometimes can maybe have a little more impetus.”

When speaking about rookie LB Elandon Roberts, Belichick spoke about how Roberts in his senior college season, just needed a chance and spoke about Hall of Fame LB Jack Lambert. Lambert was languishing on the bench at Kent State when the player in front of him on the depth chart left school to work as security for Mick Jagger and the Stones.

It was a lot longer than his normal presser but it certainly was entertaining. Patriots media guy Aaron Salkin was ready to call it at the normal time, but Belichick, clearly enjoying the topics, went on for quite a while.

Steelers DC Butler revisits the “formation” flap:
In a not-so-little bit of bulletin board material, Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Keith Butler fired a shot across the bow of New England. In his regularly scheduled video bit called “Coordinator’s Corner”, on the Steelers’ website, he was asked in preparing for NE, what special things do they do?

His answer was blunt and to the point, as he opened some old topics. “I don’t think they’re doing anything special. I think they do things outside the box sometimes, you know, that might be on the edge of being legal or not legal. They’ve done a couple of things in the past — putting an offensive tackle out as ineligible but he’s not really.”

“Sometimes the emphasis by the NFL in terms of what they call and what they don’t call, (NE) uses that a little bit. They’ve been accused of doing a lot of things. But the thing we’ve got to do is ignore that and play.”

The Steelers, removed the video from their website which should answer any questions anyone has on whether Butler’s remarks were over-the-top. Curiously, earlier in the week, Coach Mike Tomlin remarked on announcing his players out for the game early in the week, stating, “We’re a transparent group. We don’t hide. We are who we are.”

Josh Brown Saga, A Big Black Eye for the Giants and NFL:
In just another big black eye for the NFL, the on-going saga of the soon to be ex-Giants kicker Josh Brown gets worse as more facts come to light.

Brown was placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List as the league re-opened its investigation of Brown. The Giants kicker was originally suspended for just one game after allegations of him abusing his wife, physically, verbally and mentally came to light before the season started.

The slap on the wrist suspension speaks volumes more about the NFL than the pink ribbons, and pink jerseys the league is hawking for Breast Cancer Awareness this month. So, are we’re supposed to assume the league cares about the health of women when they allow a serial abuser off with a single game suspension? Horse hockey.

Only after Brown’s journal quotes came to light in the media did the league and the Giants act. Brown wrote, “I became an abuser and hurt Molly physically, emotionally and verbally.” This was in 2014. He had the May 2015 with his then wife Molly, that was brought to light.

And while we’re at it…the NFL needs to stop referring to Molly in the third-person. She’s a person, and she’s the wronged party here. The league trying to shift the blame on Molly and the Sheriff’s Department for not cooperating was positively shameful.

Roger Goodell’s statement after the Ray Rice fiasco that the “baseline” for future abusers would be a six-game suspension? More bovine excrement. The league tried to cover their own ass by stating they didn’t have enough information would be laughable if not for the seriousness of the situation.

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but wasn’t Tom Brady suspended four games for “being generally aware” that air may have been taken out of a football? And that gets 4x the suspension? And the Greg Hardy suspension?

The league and the Giants knew when Molly Brown made the accusation that more than 20 such events had taken place. NFL security personnel had to move Molly to another hotel during the Pro Bowl because of his abuse of her there. Then a week after he was suspended, Brown violated a protective order to stay away from her.

So finally, the Giants, under a cloud of criticism decided to leave Brown home from their trip to London today and the NFL has stated that they will, “thoroughly review the additional information and determine next steps in the context of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy,”

One must truly wonder if Brown would have still been on the Giants roster had Tom Coughlin was still the Giants head coach. This isn’t an indictment of Ben McAdoo, but is just beginning there. I’d say no.

So now Goodell will hand down some heavy-handed suspension, which should have been done in the first place, and have a press conference where they pat themselves on the back for doing the right thing. And the whole time, they’ll still be selling those pink jerseys because….”The NFL cares.”

James White Building Good Chemistry With Brady:
Last week we wrote about how White, the third-year RB for the Patriots won’t be going anywhere once Dion Lewis returns. White has been very improved this season especially in the running game and has become a valued and trusted member of the passing game with Tom Brady at the helm.

White has been the recipient of plenty of passes lately as defenses rush to defend the two tight end sets of Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett. In the two games since Brady has returned, White has caught 12 passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

With Dion Lewis, eligible to come off the PUP list at any time, White has made the decision an easier one for the Patriots as his play has been solid. They can afford to be patient with Lewis and the thought of a two-back backfield with the two of them is an intriguing one later down the road.

Who Do You Like This Week:
Was 9-6 picking last week’s slate which brings me to 50-41 on the year. So, who do you like today?

I am going with for the games on tap today GB from TNF (picked last Sunday), NYG, KC, Indy, Minn, Cin, Det, Oak, Buffalo, Balt, Atl, NE, TB, Seattle and Denver on Monday Night Football

Early pick for Thursday Night Football, (Jax over Tenn).

Eastbound and Down, AFC East Notes:

Bills Tailgate Story, Who is Telling the Truth?
In a story vehemently defended by both sides of the story, the MMQB piece by Robert Klemko did exactly what it set out to do. That was painting the Buffalo tailgating scene as an out of control area, populated bunch of racist, homophobic louts. With a healthy dose of Trump thrown in. The only thing missing was the deplorable mention.

Bills fans did indeed have a tackling dummy with a Colin Kaepernick jersey and an afro wig for fans to take a shot at taking down while they get lubed up prior to the game on Sunday. That’s hardly news, they do that for every home game and will do the same once Brady and the Patriots hit town next week.


But that’s where the story differs. Klemko at first claimed that two men in Bills hats shouted “Tackle the Muslim”, to egg on the young woman doing the tackling. The woman, Alexis Dent penned a letter to MMQB denouncing the tweet and accompanying video which just so happened to have started filming (according to Klemko), after the men stated as such.

Dent asked both Klemko and Peter King to remove the reference of tackling the Muslim which both refused. Klemko changed his tune and later changed his narrative to one guy yelling the offending phrase. King stood by his man, which was not a surprise since he stood by him during a crazy taxi cab theft. So, this is small potatoes.

Dent claims to have a video that shows that at no time did anyone utter those words but has yet to produce it. Although one should question why a member of a nationally recognized on-line magazine would go to a Bills tailgate party under the guise of doing a story there, unless there was an agenda attached to it.

Klemko won’t get much sympathy from here, when founder and owner Ian Logue started a movement for fans to boycott the first night of the 2016 NFL Draft in support of Tom Brady and the ridiculous suspension from Deflategate, he had this to say.


After seeing the numbers from Boston after the draft as well as the declining numbers overall in the NFL this season, maybe he’d care to change his opinion. Regardless, I don’t see many cab rides with him in the future.

 Dolphins Have Been Dominated Physically By Buffalo in Recent Years:
The Fins have been dominated by the Bills in the past four years, losing six of eight while Buffalo has pounded the ball averaging nearly 144 yards per game on the ground while sacking Ryan Tannehill 27 times in those contests.

Things aren’t looking great for Miami as they currently own the 31st ranked rushing defense allowing 147 yards per game. And while LeSean McCoy will miss this one, the Bills still have a good ground game even without Shady in the backfield.

Miami could counter with a ground attack of their own. Jay Ajayi ran for 204 yards a week ago against the Steelers and any kind of ground game would help slow a Bills pass rush that has gotten much better this season. New head coach Adam Gase has a big task today trying to reverse the last four years of frustration.

Jets Will Go With Geno Smith Today:
The New York Jets offense, which looked like world beaters after Week 2 has been stuck in neutral since then is reaching for a spark. And they’re giving QB Geno Smith the chance to show he can be their man.

While Ryan Fitzpatrick has been turning the ball over way too often, blaming it all on him is too simplistic. The Jets haven’t run-blocked as well as they should, their pass protection, normally stellar has been inconsistent and they miss Eric Decker.

So to expect Smith to come in and fix everything is asking too much. Smith does have a strong arm and can make the throws downfield with ease. But he last started, it was his decision making that cost him, making terrible throws into coverage.

He’ll be on a short leash, and Bryce Petty is already warming up in the wings.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2016 NFL Season 2016 Patriots Roster 2016 Patriots season Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Chris Hogan Danny Amendola DeflateGate Dion Lewis Dont'a Hightower Jabaal Sheard Jimmy Garoppolo Julian Edelman LaGarrette Blount Malcolm Butler Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Pittsburgh Steelers Rex Ryan Rob Gronkowski Rob Ninkovich Tom Brady

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