FOXBORO - Tom Brady was asked Wednesday if he saw any similarities between what the Chiefs are doing defensively under old friend Romeo Crennel, Brady laughed and said, "Yes. It's what we do on defense so there's a lot of familiarity in training camp and every day in practice. its a 3-4 defense."
While the Patriots are playing far more four-man fronts in 2011, the link between the things done by former Patriots defensive coordinator Crennel- the DC in KC now - is unmistakable.
And Crennel has the Chiefs playing pretty stingily.
After allowing 89 points in the first two games of the year, the KC defense allowed just 81 in their next five games as they went 4-1. The last two weeks, Crennel's defense has backslid a big, allowing 31 to Miami and then 17 to the almost punchless Tebow-led Broncos offense.
The upshot? While the Chiefs defense isn't consistent, it can be daunting when it's clicking. And with a cover corner like Brandon Flowers, a pass rusher like Tamba Hali and two big top-five picks in Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey, the weaponry is there for Crennel to fire with.
Crennel, now 64, was a long, long, long time coaching colleague of Bill Belichick's at the Giants (1981-92, two seasons after Belichick left), the Patriots (1996), the Jets (1997-99) and the Patriots a second time (2001-04).
"They're fundamentally sound and you can see the things they're coaching every week," said Brady of the Chiefs defense. "Very physical. They make it hard to run it and they have some good, experienced corners and linebackers."
NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock quarterbacked a marathon conference call with reporters from around the country on Monday in order to shed some light on the prospects who will compete at the combine later this week. One thing that stood out? He's not ready to crown anyone in this year's crop of draftable signal-callers.
As a result of the dearth of pro-ready talent at quarterback, Mayock recognized Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo as perhaps the top target for any quarterback-needy team. Garoppolo might interest the Cleveland Browns in particular, Mayock noted, because of the number of picks they have near the top of the draft.
"In my opinion," Mayock said, "if I'm the Cleveland Browns and I've got No. 1 and No. 12, if I came away with either [defensive end Myles] Garrett or [defensive tackle] Jonathan Allen at No. 1, and gave up the 12th pick in the draft to get Garoppolo? I would be stoked.
"I would feel like I had a difference-maker on defense and we had a quarterback on offense. Now let's get to work. We got five in the first 65 picks. Let's get to work. From my perspective, especially looking at the quarterbacks this year, if they gave up No. 12 and could get Garoppolo, I'd be all over that."
Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading while feeling like Warren Beatty took the sneaky way out by handing that wrong Academy Award card to Faye Dunaway last night. Clearly he knew something was amiss and he let her step into it. Kind of a weasel move if you asked me.
-- An interesting letter from FOH (Friend of Haggs) James Mirtle about the pay wall involving The Athletic sports website in Toronto.
-- Dean Lombardi and the Los Angeles Kings dealing for Ben Bishop is about more than just an insurance policy for Jonathan Quick.
-- FOH Mike Halford has the Minnesota Wild going for it with their trade for Martin Hanzal, but also keeping him from the other teams in the West.
-- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the Penguins are in great shape after winning the Cup last spring, and it’s clear they’re in good hands after Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle opted not to sell the franchise.
-- Kyle Quincey is being held out of the lineup in New Jersey because of pending trades, and the wonder is who else in New Jersey might be getting dealt.
-- Gabriel Landeskog and his Colorado Avalanche teammates know the trade deadline is coming. It would certainly be weird if they didn’t.
-- The San Jose Sharks feel fortunate for the timing of their bye week as it was clear that they needed a break.
-- For something completely different: Gronk was busy doing Gronk things at the Daytona 500 over the weekend.