48 lines on 24 NFL issues

561174.jpg

48 lines on 24 NFL issues

Twenty-four thoughts, forty-eight lines:1. Your semi-regular Chad Ochocinco report. In 148 games as a Cincinnati Bengal, Ocho had two or fewer catches 10 times and was never shut out; he's made 0 catches in the last two games and has yet to catch three passes in a single game as a Patriot. 2. So far, Ocho has earned 611,111 for each one of his nine catches. And 11 cents - take care of the pennies and the dollars take care of themselves, right? 3. That thing that Chris Berman does where he uses every cubic centimeter of air in his body so that he doesn't have to take another breath and winds up sounding like he's about to expire by the end of the sentence? I don't love that thing. 4. Lotta arm-flapping and cluck-clucking over the fact that Charger guard Kris Dielman had a seizure on the team plane after suffering a concussion in the Jets game. Dielman reeled around the field and wobbled back to the huddle after pulling around to deliver a block on Calvin Pace. 5. Who's the one that deserves the most blame? Dielman. 6. The officials are watching the play so when a player canters by and they ask if he's okay, they don't know what happened. The coaches have no angle whether they're on the sideline or upstairs in the press box. 7. Everybody's got other stuff to do. If you want to get home to your wife and kids with your brain in working order, you might want to pipe up when you are walking around after a block like you're on the deck of the S.S. Minnow. 8. So you can blame the helmet makers, the NFL, the coaches or the whole system if you want. Doing so lets the player off the personal-responsibility hook, though. 9. Look, the Patriots can certainly win with the wide receivers and offensive weaponry they have. They play the most evolved style of NFL football ever morphing week-to-week, play-to-play, even huddle-to-line-of-scrimmage. 10. Anyone worried about the offense not being good enough needs a hot bath, a cold shower and something else to do with their Sundays. That person has no idea what heshe is looking at. 11. HOWEVER! Unless their opponents are complicit in beating themselves offensively -- as the Cowboys, Jets and Chargers all were in not attacking the Patriots' secondary -- the offense needs to continuescoring in the 30s. 12. And the offense will have a harder time doing that with the success other teams have had playing press man-to-man, which reduces the efficiency of Wes Welker (12 catches, 84 yards the past two games) and Rob Gronkowski.A field-stretcher that terrifies corners and safeties (like the Steelers' Mike Wallace) would alter the pressure defense. 13. To me, the barrier between getting to Indy in February comes down to this: either get better at stopping offenses or make your offense even harder to stop. Improving the offense seems a quicker fix than improving the defense. 14. So I'll say it: Moss. 15. What's the Patriots' greatest drafting blind spot? Is it wide receiver, linebacker, safety or corner? 16. The notion that the Patriots should hire a GM to take the personnel duties off of Bill Belichick's full plate may seem intriguing at first thought. But then give it a second one. 17. Will that GM have say over Belichick? Will that GM come from outside the organization? 18. Think Belichick is going to sign off on answering to someone at this juncture no matter how many high-draft picks have gone bellyup and free-agent signings have gone bust? Me, neither. 19. But if someone else in some other town had fanned on almost the entire 2006 draft, the entire 2007 draft, top-50 picks in '08 and '09, Adalius Thomas, Shawn Springs, Derrick Burgess, Tully Banta-Cain, Leigh Bodden, Chad Ochonono, Shaun Ellis and Albert Haynesworth? Right, that guy would be sitting next to Eric Mangini and Herm Edwards in Bristol. 20. And current personnel overseer Nick Caserio does absolutely nothing to inspire an iota of confidence that he's going to change Belichick's mind about anything, ever. He may be smart, he may be well-spoken but I want to see if there's a string on his back that you pull and programmed Belichick-speak just pours out of his head. 21. Antwaun Molden was the scaredest guy in America this Halloween. On that blitz where Patrick Chung came from the safety spot, Molden sprinted 20 yards downfield because he had no over-the-top help on Mike Wallace, who caught a WR screen and gained 12. 22. I believe it's time to take the Buffalo Bills quite seriously. But check out the stretch they now face -- the Jets on Sunday then three in a row and four out of five on the road. 23. It's always about the Ryans, isn't it? Yeah, they're funny and good at coaching defensive football, but is there any way they could get over themselves and not act as if they are the sun around which the NFL turns? 24. Mike Tomlin, making sense discussing the decision by Belichick to attempt an onsides kick on Sunday. "Based on the evidence that he was looking at, we hadnt punted in the football game. I know that if I was in his position I wouldve done the same thing. I would have tried to get the ball just based on what had transpired in the stadium to that point. We had yet to punt offensively. He needed the ball. So he took an opportunity with something that he felt good about, of course, from an execution standpoint, which was the onside kick.

Patriots players got a refresher on NFL social media policy because of Brown

Patriots players got a refresher on NFL social media policy because of Brown

FOXBORO -- Antonio Brown's live stream of coach Mike Tomlin's postgame speech on Sunday had a ripple effect that traveled all the way to New England: Just in case Patriots players weren't familiar with the league's social-media policy, they were reminded of it this week. 

"We were reminded of that," receiver Chris Hogan said. "I’m not sure what the timing is, but obviously, I don’t think we’ll see guys doing that in the locker room."

Players are prohibited from using social media in the locker room until media outlets have been given an opportunity to talk to players following games. Brown's Facebook Live video, which garnered national attention almost as soon as it went online, was shot well before the visitor's locker room at Arrowhead Stadium opened following Pittsburgh's win over Kansas City.

"We have a team policy on that," special teams captain Matthew Slater said. "Strictly enforced. We go from there."

Of course part of the reason the video became as widely disseminated as it did was because it caught Tomlin calling the Patriots "a--holes."

"I have a lot of respect for Coach Tomlin," Slater said when asked about Tomlin's speech. "I appreciate the way he prepares his team. I’ve had a good working relationship with him over the years, and it will continue to be that way."

Both Slater and Hogan insisted that their focus will be trained solely on preparing for what Tomlin and his players will do when they arrive to Gillette Stadium Sunday night -- not what they say leading up to kickoff.

"You come in here, you're automatically bought into what we preach here, what coach [Bill] Belichick preaches," Hogan said. "It's football. We're 100 percent football here. It's not about anything outside. Between the media or whatever it is outside of football, whatever we're doing. When we come here, it's 100 percent football. That's all we're focused on is the opponent we're playing that week."

Whether Goodell visits Foxboro or not, Patriots players say they don't care

Whether Goodell visits Foxboro or not, Patriots players say they don't care

FOXBORO -- Roger Goodell will reportedly be in Atlanta for the NFC Championship Game this weekend and therefore will miss the AFC title game between the Patriots and Steelers at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. His absence will mean he hasn't been to a Patriots game in more than two years, when he was present for the AFC title game in 2015 -- the birth of Deflategate. 

It's news that broke on Tuesday and sent some Patriots fans into an uproar. Patriots players, though, sound like they're having a hard time caring one way or the other.

"He’s the commissioner, so obviously whatever he wants to do, he can do," Tom Brady told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Monday. "If he wants to come, that would be -- yeah, he can come."

In the Patriots locker room on Tuesday, others struck a similar tone.

"I could not care less," said Patriots receiver Chris Hogan. "I'm focused on Pittsburgh and their defense and studying them as much as I can this week, watching them as much as I can so that I can go out there on Sunday and be prepared."

Special teams captain Matthew Slater was similarly disinterested in the discussion.

"The game's going to be played," he said. "Whoever's in attendance is in attendance. We'll just worry about trying to play well."