Belichick: Always a few phone calls before trade deadline


Belichick: Always a few phone calls before trade deadline

FOXBORO -- Traditionally, on the day of the NFL trade deadline, there is not a flurry of activity around the league. Those hoping to see blockbuster deals can't hold their breath; even trades for bit players seem rare.

The deadline is today at 4 p.m. after being moved back two days by the NFL in order to allow teams to recover from the effects of Sandy, the storm that ravaged the East Coast earlier this week. Though the deadline often comes and goes without much in the way of news, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said today that there is some work being done behind the scenes.

"I think there are always a few conversations, a few phone calls," he said. "I think that's normal."

For multiple reasons, though, trades between NFL teams rarely occur, especially relative to other professional sports.

NFL systems can be difficult for players to pick up without a full training camp. (Remember the struggles Chad Ochocinco had when he joined the Patriots after last year's lockout?) Getting a grip on a new team's playbook eight weeks into the season only makes that transition tougher. Teams often add free agents at different points during the season and hope that they can grasp new schemes, but those kinds of acquisitions do not require giving away compensation to another team in exchange.

Belichick said he thinks compensation is often the sticking point in trades and perhaps the reason why there aren't more deals that get done near the deadline.

"Evidently," he said, "two teams can't agree on either the compensation of the trade, or there's not a motivation to do it."

The Patriots have made trades before the deadline in the past. They dealt Randy Moss and a seventh-round draft pick to the Vikings in exchange for a third-round pick in October of 2010. That same season, they acquired Deion Branch from the Seahawks for a fourth-rounder.

Those kinds of deals for big-name players are very rare, as is any trade, it seems. But that doesn't mean the Patriots aren't working the phones today in the hours leading up the deadline, keeping their ears open for a chance to make themselves better.

Hogan 'feeling good' as he recovers from thigh injury


Hogan 'feeling good' as he recovers from thigh injury

FOXBORO -- Patriots wideout Chris Hogan indicated after Saturday's divisional round win over the Texans that he'd be OK, and he doubled down on that stance when meeting with reporters Tuesday. 

The veteran receiver, whose first season with the Patriots has brought his first career postseason experience, injured his thigh against Houston. He left in the third quarter and did not return. 

"Feeling good," Hogan said. "Just had a little minor setback in the game. I'm working back every single day and feeling better every day."

Hogan had an awkward collision with Texans defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney at the end of the first half on a play at the goal line. To that point, he had reeled in four passes for 95 yards as the team's primary deep threat. With Hogan out, Brady relied upon Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd as wideouts.

Hogan explained that he was expecting to practice this week.

"I'm just gonna go day by day," he said. "Come in here tomorrow. Everything's been feeling better day by day. I'm looking forward to getting out there and practicing this week."

Strahan picks Steelers to upset Patriots in AFC Championship

Strahan picks Steelers to upset Patriots in AFC Championship

Michael Strahan saw the Patriots lose a Super Bowl first-hand, but he doesn’t think they’ll lose Super Bowl LI. That’s because he doesn’t think they’ll be participants. 

Appearing on The Tonight Show, the former Giants defensive end and current Person Who is Frequently on Television said that he expects the Steelers to upset the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC Championship.

“I think in the AFC, I think Pittsburgh might pull the upset this year,” Strahan said. 

When Jimmy Fallon objected, Strahan said Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ pass rush would be enough to beat the Pats if New England plays the way it did in the divisional round. 
“If you watched the Houston Texans, they had a shot; they just turned the ball over,” he said. “And the Houston Texans offense is in no way, shape or form near what Pittsburgh has. They don’t have the quarterback that [Pittsburgh has]. Defensively, Houston had the really good defense, but Pittsburgh [puts] the good pressure on the quarterback. And from my Super Bowl experience, Tom Brady does not like pressure. I’m just saying I feel like if there’s anybody who’s going to pull an upset, it will be them.” 

As for any rooting interest, Strahan said that he hopes the Falcons win the Super Bowl, citing Matt Ryan being overdue for a title and Julio Jones having a Brady-like quality of putting team goals before his own legacy.