Belichick: Dowling progressing, had 'good spring'


Belichick: Dowling progressing, had 'good spring'

FOXBORO -- As soon as Patriots training camp started a slide labeled "Ras-I Dowling" was placed under the microscope. The corner is like a glittering specimen of unrealized potential and all are waiting to see how he does.

There wasn't much opportunity last season.

Dowling, the first pick of 2011's second round, positioned himself after last year's camp to start the regular season opener. But a torn hip tendon in Week 2's game against the Chargers relegated the rookie to injured reserve. Dowling practiced, he just never saw game action again.

Then came the offseason surgery, the recovery. He's working his way back.

"It's good to see him out there," Bill Belichick said the second morning of training camp. "We thought Ras-I made some progress last year when he was on the field. He wasn't able to finish the season, but that's really the key for any player is to be able to be out there, get the instruction, practice, watch it on film, correct it and do it again. Game reps. Not only to gain confidence, but the technique and execution to do it against high level competition. That's key for him...."

The 6-2, 198-pound cornerback will look to win Kyle Arrington's spot with his blazing speed. On the first day of camp he subbed in, bumping Arrington into the nickel spot. It won't be an easy battle.

He's also fighting his own history.

Dowling's health has long been a concern. Injuries limited him to just five games his senior season at Virginia. He missed the first three Patriots preseason games with a hamstring injury. All things considered, it's difficult to not have doubts.

Unless you're Belichick. The coach said Dowling had a "good spring" and was fully capable during all practices.

"He was able to do some of that last year and make some progress and I think he'll be able to do a lot more this year."

Report: Three NFL owners want Goodell out


Report: Three NFL owners want Goodell out

According to a site called The Daily Caller, a news site founded by conservative pundit Tucker Carlson, there are three NFL owners who want Roger Goodell out as commissioner. 

"I don't like him," one owner said. "I think it's time for a new commissioner."

Another owner told The Daily Caller, "He's doing things to make himself known, whereas past commissioners have acted only to make the league better. He is creating too many rules that make the game uninteresting. He can be accurately compared to our massive federal government."

A third owner took umbrage with Goodell's salary, which was estimated at about $34 million for last year.

"He’s a figure head that makes a lot more than the people risking their lives and futures every snap when he’s on his couch watching the games," the third owner said. 

Brady legal team adds former Solicitor General Olson


Brady legal team adds former Solicitor General Olson

Tom Brady’s legal team has added another heavy hitter with Supreme Court experience and has filed a motion for more time to mull another appeal.

Former US Solicitor General Ted Olson, who has argued more than 60 cases before the Supreme Court, has been added as counsel in the wake of the Patriots quarterback’s Deflategate suspension being reinstated. 

Sports Illustrated legal analyst and University of New Hampshire law professor Michael McCann calls the move the "clearest sign yet they will exhaust their appeals rather than give up."

In addition to filing a notice Friday that added Olson, the NFLPA, on behalf of Brady, requested an extension of the window to appeal the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision that reinstated the four-game suspension imposed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The window is normally 14 days and this motion requests and additional two-week extension. 

From the court filing:

”The Court's opinion will affect the rights of every player in the NFL. Accordingly, the NFLPA and its members would benefit from additional time to analyze the implications of the decision for labor-management relations between the NFL and the NFLPA."

Olson, 75, was assistant attorney general from 1981-84 and Solicitor General under President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He has won 75 percent of his Supreme Court cases, which include two Bush v. Gore cases.

Patriots could take a chance on free-falling UCLA LB Myles Jack


Patriots could take a chance on free-falling UCLA LB Myles Jack

Myles Jack would have been better off with a gas mask than the truth. The UCLA linebacker that figured to be a top-five pick parachuted out of the first round entirely after acknowledging he’ll need microfracture surgery. 

“[The degenerative problems are] there, but it’s nothing extreme,” Jack said. “Down the line, possibly I could have microfracture surgery — potentially. Who knows what will happen? Nobody knows how long anybody is going to play in this league. To play three years in this league would be above average.”

And over the falls Jack went. This is not conjecture. Panthers GM Dave Gettleman said that if it weren’t for Jack offering his take on his medical future, he wouldn’t have fallen. 

Asked if he was surprised Jack fell, Gettleman said, “Not after what he said today, very frankly. The kid came out and said he is going to need a microfracture.” 

Laremy Tunsil, he of the aforementioned gas mask, only slipped to 13. Though we’ve heard many times, you can’t fix stupid, NFL teams were willing to take a risk on a kid like Tunsil who is healthy physically but moronic enough to allow someone to fix a camera on him while he smokes weed.

But not Jack. What’s pertinent on Friday as the second and third rounds draw closer is how far will Jack drop and whether the Patriots would be willing to make a move to go up and get him.

It’s spitballing we’ve been doing with Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith all week as well. 

Indications I’ve gotten are that the Patriots would indeed be willing to take the risk with Jack but that there’s much more concern about Smith, who’s got nerve damage in the wake of his January knee blowout.

With the Patriots holding four picks on Friday, the opportunity is there for the team to roll the dice a bit. They’ll want to get one surefire contributor who figures to be a safe pick. But with the roster as well-stocked as it is, rolling the dice on first-round talent that’s slipped down the board could also be in play.

To get Jack, the Patriots may have to move up into the 30s. Conjecture has been that he won’t last long once Round 2 begins.
Amazing the Pandora’s Box opened by going to Vegas, leaning on integrity of the game.