Andre Carter gets itMORE: Life without Ortiz Jermaine O'Neal's still talking

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Andre Carter gets itMORE: Life without Ortiz Jermaine O'Neal's still talking

Yesterday on Sirius, formermaybe future Pats defensive lineman Andre Carter was on with guys at "Movin' the Chains." It was an interesting interview, the details of which you can read more about over here, but there's one part that I want to focus on.

Something that Carter said after being asked about spending last season in Foxborough.

Ahem.

"I think I learned more about football than I had throughout my whole 11 years."

Wow.

After more than a decade of listening to the world talk about what a genius Bill Belichick is, I think it's sometimes easy to take him for granted. Or at the very least, to temporarily lose sight of just how much football's been absorbed by the man's brain over the last 60 years.

But every once in a while you hear something like this, and it puts everything in perspective. You hear Andre Carter, who's played a dozen seasons in the NFL, for seven different head coaches including Joe Gibbs and Mike Shanahan say that he learned more in four months with Belichick than in the rest of his career combined.

I guess we need to take Carter's words with a grain of salt. After all, you know that he's dying for a chance to re-join the Pats this year. And he knows that it can't hurt to kiss a little Hoodie ass in the media. But there's no doubt that part of the reason Carter's so eager to play for the Pats in the first place is that bottomless pit of knowledge that sits on top of Belichick's head.

Whether or not Carter and the Pats will ever come to terms this season . . . we'll see. A lot still depends on Carter's recovery from last December's quad injury. He might be a great guy, but unless he can play to last year's standards, you know Belichick won't bite. But count me among the thousands that hope the two sides work something out.

Not only can the Pats use Carter's presence on the line, but the Pats D can use another established veteran. A guy who might still have a lot to learn from Belichick, but also has a lot he can teach to Chandler Jones and the rest of the defensive line.

One other highlight from the Carter interview?

This: "I didnt realize how big Donta Hightower was," Carter said about the Pats other first round pick. "That boy is a beast. He is big and solid and he can run like the wind, especially for a man his size (6-2, 270). I think for him, on the back end, he can do it all whether its a 3-4 or 4-3, Ill be interested to see what he does."

I'll be, too. Like I said before, I really think we're seeing the start of something special with the Pats crew of young linebackers: Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes and Hightower.

I think I'm more excited for them than I've been for any linebacking trio throughout my whole 11 years.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Patriots named Super Bowl LI favorites despite Brady suspension

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Patriots named Super Bowl LI favorites despite Brady suspension

Is the Patriots roster so loaded that Tom Brady can be suspended for four games, and they're still the favorites to win it all? 

Apparently so, according to odds released by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Not long after the completion of this year's draft, the Patriots were favored at 6-1 to win their fifth Lombardi Trophy even though their quarterback is scheduled to miss the first month of the season after his Deflategate punishment was recently reinstated by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Brady plans to appeal that ruling. 

Next on the list of favorites are the Seahawks, Steelers and Packers, all of whom are tied at 8-1. The Panthers, who fell in Super Bowl 50 to the Broncos, have 9-1 odds to redeem themselves after last season's defeat and walk away winners. 

The Patriots are, of course, favored to win the AFC (3-1) and the AFC East (4-9), and their season win total projection has been set at 10.5.

Felger: Is the praise for Jacoby Brissett too good to be true?

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Felger: Is the praise for Jacoby Brissett too good to be true?

Three mid-week thoughts for your perusal . . . 

-- I was 100 percent behind the drafting of quarterback Jacoby Brissett. And then I read comments about the kid from Charlie Weis and Bill Parcells in Karen Guregian's excellent story in the Boston Herald on Tuesday.

Now I'm down to about 80 percent.

"He's a Curtis Martin-, Willie McGinest-, Troy Brown-type of player,'' said Parcells. "That's the kind of guy he is. That's what New England is getting. Those kind, those Tedy Bruschi types, those players who've been successful -- he's very similar in his personal life to those kinds of guys.''

"Let me tell you,'' added Weis, "this kid, from the time he was in high school, is the Pied Piper . . . He was definitely the leader of the pack. In the quarterback position, I think that's a critical factor. And that's what he was.''

Added Parcells: "He has zero personal issues.''

So why would glowing reports cause me to like the pick less? File under: Too good to be true.

I read those quotes and get the feeling I'm being sold something, which shakes my confidence a bit. Plus, it's a little too much on the intangible element. Character is certainly important at the position. In fact, it's crucial. But if intangibles were the only thing that mattered, Tim Tebow would have been an NFL QB. And we all know how that turned out.

Bottom line: I still like the pick. I still want the Pats drafting and developing quarterbacks. I just smell a bit of bull crap.

-- Chris Mannix nailed it regarding what it would take for the Celtics to lure Kevin Durant to Boston.

"Boston's ability to lure him is going to come down to who else they can get. You can't walk into a meeting with Kevin Durant and say, 'We've got Isiah Thomas and 97 draft picks; we're going to be good in a few years','' he told Toucher and Rich Tuesday morning. "Kevin doesn't want to hear that . . . What he wants to hear is that we're ready to win now . . . They have to come to the table with a Jimmy Butler, with a Bradley Beal, with an Al Horford. They can't just come with Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge and a bunch of draft picks.''

In other words, the pieces on the current roster aren't nearly as good as they looked in the regular season. And, no, Thomas is not a franchise player. And, finally, don't get too attached to those picks, no matter where the ping pong balls land.

-- I wonder if the Bruins look at the current landscape in net across the NHL playoffs and consider how wise it is to pay their goalie, Tuukka Rask, $7 million a year.

Still alive are guys like the Islanders' Thomas Greiss ($1.5 million cap hit), the Blues' Brian Ellliott ($2.5 million), the Sharks' Martin Jones ($3 million) and Penguins rookie Matt Murray ($620,000). Out are 8 of the top 10 highest-paid goalies in the league, a list including Henri Lundqvist, Carey Price, Cory Schneider, Ryan Miller and, of course, Rask.

Please note: No one is saying you can get away with shoddy goaltending in the playoffs. It's an unassailable fact that you need elite play in net to contend for Stanley Cups. The question is what you have to pay for it. 

And in that regard, this year is no aberration. Sometimes you have to pay through the nose for it, and sometimes it just falls in your lap.

Can the Bruins get away with trying to survive in that second camp? Good question. This much I know: Paying Rask $7 million a year to miss the playoffs two straight years isn't doing anyone any good.

Email Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN.