Tuesday Patriots Notebook 4/10: Patriots Need to Avoid Manziel; Brandt Has Suggestion For Solder’s Replacement

Ian Logue
April 10, 2018 at 8:36 am ET

It’s a quiet morning on this Tuesday, but here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.

Manziel’s Comments a Red Flag – With the NFL Draft fast approaching, the Patriots have spent their time looking at quarterback prospects and have even gone so far as to explore a contingency plan, having shown interest in embattled Johnny Manziel this offseason.

But Manziel didn’t help his stock this week after sitting down with Dan Patrick in a recent interview, where he, unfortunately, revealed the part of his personality that caused his problems during his first stint in the league.  For a player who seemed focused on finally accepting his mistakes, the former NFL quarterback placed blame on his failure in Cleveland on the Brown’s coaches for not recognizing his faults, including pointing the finger at then quarterback Brian Hoyer who he blamed for not helping him.

Manziel said the Browns failed to recognize his lack of a deep understanding of the game, while then shifting the blame in a backhanded way at Hoyer.

“I see successful guys in the NFL and what they do in the offseason and the time that they put in that makes them good players,” said Manziel via DallasNews.com.  Yes, they’re athletically gifted, but guys are good in the NFL because they know film, they study hard and they work even harder in the offseason. So I didn’t know that. And I feel like if Cleveland did any of their homework, they would have known that I was a guy that didn’t come in every day and watch film. I was a guy that didn’t really know the X’s and O’s of football.”

“I played in a spread offense. We looked at bubbles, we looked at flats, we had progression reads across the field, it wasn’t like it was a super intricate, like, pro system. So when I get to Cleveland, you know, I have a quarterback in the room with me that’s not helping me. And it’s not really his job to, but nobody was there helping me go over the X’s and O’s and it was hard, I struggled. And then getting on the practice field, I lost a lot of confidence after my first couple days there, like, this was the first time in my life, I believe since my freshman year in high school, that I wasn’t playing really well. That I didn’t come out the first day and throw the ball around and make a lot of completions and score touchdowns and everything. I struggled.”

The worst part is that Manziel couldn’t just let it go and took to Twitter in response to a Tweet by ProFootballTalk.com that said Maniel “was duping them into thinking he’d actually work hard and study”.

It’s an interesting perspective from a player who the Patriots have shown enough interest in to believe that he could be a possibility.  Considering the fact everyone here in New England knows the work ethic Tom Brady put in to eventually supplant quarterback Drew Bledsoe, Manziel’s pleas may fall on deaf ears if he’s hoping for the same hand-holding should he eventually end up here.


The Patriots struck gold when Wilfork fell to them in the first round in 2004. (USA TODAY Images)

History in Patriots Favor With Two First-Round Picks – One of the things Mike Reiss pointed out on Monday was how successful the Patriots have been in the past when they’ve entered the draft with two selections in the opening round.

Looking back, they’ve had a pretty good run, landing some pretty productive players over that span.

Here’s a quick rundown:

2003: (after the Bledsoe trade to Buffalo) The first was Ty Warren (13), and the Patriots traded their second in a deal with Baltimore, which yielded them a pick in round one in 2004 while picking up a second rounder in the 2003 draft.

2004: The Ravens pick turned into Vince Wilfork (21) along with Benjamin Watson (32), who was selected with the team’s own selection.

2007: Brandon Meriweather (24), while trading the other for a 2008 first-round pick and 2007 fourth-rounder, which as Reiss points out, was used to acquire Randy Moss.

2008: Jerod Mayo (10), they lost the other due to SpyGate.

2011: Nate Solder (17), then traded out and acquired a second-round pick and a 2012 first rounder.  The former pick turned into Shane Vereen, who obviously went on to be a key player during the team’s Super Bowl win three years later against the Seahawks.

2012: Chandler Jones (21) and Dont’a Hightower (25).  Both became important players on New England’s defense, with Hightower obviously becoming a long-term contributor at linebacker, although he’s been injury prone.

Needless to say, they’ve played their cards right over the years and even when they’ve traded out, it’s paid dividends.  We’ll see in a couple of weeks who the next two added to this list might be and hopefully, the previous run of success continues.

HBO Paterno Special Was Interesting – For anyone who caught the Joe Paterno feature on HBO this past weekend, it was pretty well done and shows the state of mind of the late Penn State coach as the Gerry Sandusky scandal unfolded and rocked the university.

The way that Paterno, played by Al Pachino, was portrayed essentially let us know what we more or less already felt, at the age of 84, he was essentially oblivious to the severity of what was going on around him. He was also so consumed with football and didn’t feel he had time to focus on it, not realizing that ignoring it was ultimately the real reason things had reached the point that they had and it led to his abrupt firing.

The feature essentially portrayed him as an old man who was well past his prime and probably shouldn’t have even been there to begin with.  The thing that was interesting is the side the story was being told from seemingly rolled side-to-side and skated around which side it was trying to take, whether it was the pain and frustration Paterno felt or the emphasis on the victims and whether or not Paterno should be taken to task due to his handling of the situation.

Pacino got the job done, with a solid performance that included a scene as he was alone in an MRI machine suddenly coming to grips with a comment by his wife where he said, “you must not have known, because you wouldn’t have let our own children play in the pool with him”, referring to Sandusky.

It was an interesting take on one of the most shocking stories in recent memory.   Unfortunately, the true story is still tough to come to terms with, but HBO did a reasonably good job of telling it and it’s worth seeing if you get the chance.

Brandt Claims Eagles Had Huge Presence At College Pro Days, Suggests Solder Replacement – Peter King had some comments from Dallas Chief Scout Gil Brandt, who said the Eagles seem to be the team who caught the attention of people around the league after seeing their presence at each of the college pro days.

Brandt said that for a team that just won the Super Bowl, it certainly didn’t feel like it.

“I don’t know what [the Eagles] are going to do, but I have been amazed at their presence everywhere at these pro days,” Brandt told King in this week’s edition of the MMQB.  “I told [general manager] Howie Roseman, ‘You must have an unlimited scouting budget—and I think you’ve exceeded it.’ They’ve had coaches and scouts everywhere. They don’t act like they just won the Super Bowl. They act like they’re dying just to make the playoffs.”

We heard a similar sentiment after the Patriots most recent Super Bowl victory with Belichick skipping a vacation while being spotted at various locations despite coming off a championship.

Brandt believes there’s enough talent in this year’s draft for the Patriots to find a replacement for Nate Solder at left tackle, and he’s got a player in mind that he believes can be developed in New England’s system.

“This is a draft where 13 to 17 guys I could point to and say for sure, This guy’s a first-round pick. After that, there’s a lot of starting-type players who could go anywhere,” Brandt told King. “Let me put it to you this way: My guy who I have 21st overall on my list could go 64th. The guy I rank 47th could go 19th. So the Patriots, with their needs and their two first-round picks, should be able to get a tackle to replace Nate Solder. They need the tackle from UCLA, Kolton Miller. He’s Nate Solder, is what he is … 6’8”, 310 pounds, unbelievable 10-yard speed, which is what you need for a tackle. Needs development. But [offensive line coach] Dante Scarnecchia can develop a guy like that as well as anyone.”



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