Good morning, here are Sunday’s Patriots news 3-27 notes and what’s happening around the division.
Billionaire Boys Club Turns a Jealous Eye to Kraft: At the NFL league meeting in Boca Raton, FL this week, Patriots owner Bob Kraft acknowledged that he indeed did write a letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell asking to restore the Pats draft picks. However, he quickly found himself voted off the island.
“I don’t think you’ll see any momentum among our peers,” Kraft said. “I wish they would, because they could be in a similar position.”
To quote former Patriots WR Troy Brown, “We’ve got Bingo here!”
Goodell was asked later in the week if he would comment on Kraft’s letter. He stated that there “was no new information in it” and “the penalties will stand”. If you’re surprised by that, then you haven’t been paying attention.
The league certainly hasn’t.
After unleashing a series of false information leaks via the media immediately after the AFCCG against the Colts, the ridiculous Wells Report and outright lies about the questioning of Tom Brady and Patriots staffers, the writing has been on the wall for some time.
But this week when WEEI’s Kurt Minnihane interviewed Chris “Mad Dog” Russo from Sirius XM Radio, the story took another turn. Kraft’s fellow owners weren’t interested in the truth. Rather the owners were much more interested in punishing Kraft and the Patriots because….they win too much. Get the entire story from WEEI here:
Hey, let’s overspend in free agency, hire the coach du jour and make bad business decisions but punish New England because they win more than us.
Like little boys whose Soap Box Derby cars can’t keep up with the kid who wins every year, they are perfectly content to let their highly paid button man Goodell look like a buffoon constantly changing his tune to knock down that kid and put him to the back of the line. Integrity of the game? Seems laughable coming from Park Avenue.
Kraft had a choice a year ago to be part of the boy’s club and suck it up or do what’s right and sue the pants off the league. He tried to be the good soldier and this is how he was repaid by his brothers. Band of Brothers they ain’t.
Writing a letter to Goodell was merely a PR move to try to win back the fan base…there was no cavalry coming to his rescue.
“They could be in a similar position.” Right Kansas City? It is more probable than not that the league wasn’t interested in hearing their side either.
Patriots Nation bids RIP to a Pair of Veterans: On March 24, the Patriots were saddened to learn of the loss of two former standout players, Julius Adams and Kevin Turner.
Adams, 67, was drafted by the Patriots in 1971 and played his entire career with New England from 1971-1985. He retired before coming back for a final season in 1987. He was a very good defensive end for the Patriots during his time and was a member of the 1985 team that went to the Super Bowl. He also was a member of the Patriots 50th Anniversary Team, announced in 2009.
He retired with 79.5 sacks, second in team history behind Andre Tippett’s 100. Perhaps his best moment was in the famous “Snow Bowl” game against Miami when he blocked a Dolphins’ field goal attempt later won by the Pats 3-0 when an inmate cleared the field of snow before John Smith’s kick.
Turner died from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) at the young age of 46. A good blocking and pass catching fullback, Turner played three seasons for the Patriots after being drafted by New England in the third round of the 1992 NFL Draft from Alabama.
During his career with the Pats Turner had 96 carries and 98 catches out of the backfield. His best was the winning touchdown in overtime against the Minnesota Vikings in 1994 after the Pats had trailed early 20-0.
Bill Belichick Not a Member of the “Breakfast Club”: The writing was on the wall immediately. Bill Belichick looked like he’d rather have a date with the hangman than suffer thru the interview at the “Coaches Breakfast” at the league meetings.
As soon as he sat down, he pushed the assorted microphones and voice recorders away with a forearm and then proceeded to grunt and answer each question with as short an answer as possible for the next 45 minutes. He said “I don’t know” at least 20 times (I stopped counting), and just glared without speaking at the requestor after one question.
I get it. On many levels. The fan in me is always amused by Belichick when he channels his inner Wilford Brimley curmudgeon-like self and gives the stare to questions.
I get it for Belichick. He’s never been fond of press conferences; they are to him a necessary evil that he puts up with to do what he loves…to coach football. But normally his pressers at Gillette are with him on the podium with a bigger chasm between him and the media where he generally extends his arms as far as he can stretch.
The Coaches’ Breakfast is a much more intimate setting with the media sitting on top of him as well as behind him. For Belichick it is much too close and he wanted none of it. Of course because it WAS after all a league mandated event, his behavior could have had something to do with that. And we know how Bill feels about those and them.
I also get the standpoint of the media, as a person that has sat in front of Belichick during his press conferences, I’ve seen firsthand when he isn’t interested in giving a thing or when someone asks a question about a topic that catches him in the right mood, watch Belichick give a 17-minute dissertation on the construction of the Patriots practice squad. So Mike Giardi’s comment on Twitter which he was roundly booed for rings hollow. It is the media’s job to probe, to ask questions. Or, as Belichick is so fond of saying…doing their job.
Bottom line is, he is who he is. He’s not going to change and the only reason he was there was so he wasn’t fined….wait. What? Who said that?
Nate Washington Adds Depth to Receiving Core: The Patriots added another WR to the roster this week as they signed former Texans wideout Nate Washington to a 1-yr deal. Washington should have little trouble picking up the Patriots system since Houston plays with a similar offense.
As soon as this news hit, the rumors were flying that this meant the end of Danny Amendola. Not so fast on that one. While Washington who will turn 33 this season is able to work inside, his versatility allows him to work outside with equal ability.
The Patriots are not a team that worries much about designations; this guy is an “X”, that guy is a “Y” etc. They like their players to be able to step in seamlessly in any position. Washington on paper, can do that. If the need arises he can step in and play underneath. But he may push Aaron Dobson for the outside WR role where he can run those intermediate routes with the occasional deep one. Training camp will have plenty of competition this season.
NFL Cries Foul for Innuendo, Rumors…Really? This week the NY Times wrote a scathing article criticizing the NFL on its concussion research and links to the tobacco industry.
The league then took great offense to the Times piece and said that the newspaper “published pages of innuendo and speculation for a headline with no basis in fact.”
In its statement the NFL then went on to say, “Since learning of the proposed story, the NFL provided the Times with more than 50 pages of information demonstrating the facts. The Times ignored the facts. So we present them here:”
This sounds like the “New York Times story in context” or a reasonable facsimile thereof. So apparently the league can dish out innuendo and ‘facts’ that can be disagreed with but can’t take it in return. My, my, my. One is left to wonder if the NFL’s legal team of Howard, Fine and Howard have any clue as to how crazy this sounds.
East Bound and Down…AFC East Notes:
Dolphins Searching for New Stadium Sponsor: The Dolphins, smarting from the losses of free agency now have other ‘fish’ to fry. Their stadium, Sun-Life Stadium until the naming rights expired a month ago, is now open for bidding for a new sponsor.
The stadium, previously known as Land Shark and Pro-Player and Sun Life is in the midst of a huge $400 million-dollar makeover that will include a canopy to keep fans dry when it rains.
Now they just have to come up with a way to fill the place.
Jets Have to Pay Fitzpatrick: The Jets did the smart thing and played the waiting game but the wild amounts of money that have been thrown around at a bunch of middling or backup QBs has them in a quandary. Now they have to pay Ryan Fitzpatrick or they’ll be in rough shape come September.
Obviously they didn’t want to pay Fitz the kind of money he’s looking for. But after seeing guys like Sam Bradford, Brock Osweiler and even Chase Daniel cash in, they may be forced to. Fitzpatrick isn’t their long-term answer but he took them to the brink of the playoffs last year, something that was out in left field at the start of the season.
At the league meetings they were trying to project an air of having it under control whether Fitzpatrick signs or not. The free agent market is drying up and Geno Smith is definitely a step in the wrong direction….pay the man.
Bills Re-sign Hankerson, Mills This Week: The Bills, in a tough place with the salary cap, announced a pair of signings this week. They re-signed WR Leonard Hankerson this week to a 1-year contract and also announced that RT Jordan Mills had signed his tender.
Buffalo signed Hankerson late last season after he was jettisoned by both the Falcons and the Patriots. He caught 26 passes last season in Atlanta. He had no catches for Buffalo, but should compete for the 3rd WR role now that Chris Hogan has signed with the Patriots.