Curran: Ward's comments say it all


Curran: Ward's comments say it all

When Hines Ward asserted, in essence, that the Patriots didn't need him in order to the beat the Steelers, Tom E. Curran felt that said all that was needed to be said about the leaky New England secondary.

"It's pretty damning when you have one of the receivers from the other team saying, 'You know what? They didn't need me,' "'s Patriots Insider told Mike Giardi on 'SportsNet Central' on Wednesday. " 'I know the Pats were the No. 1 seed in the AFC going into the game, I know it's a game that might determine ultimately which team plays the AFC championship at home, but we had it. We were all set because they had Antwaun Molden and Phillip Adams running around out there.'

"That's damning right there . . . and the problem is, it's one thing to be bad in Weeks 1, 2 and 3, but to regress to the point the Patriots' pass defense has in Week 8 is concerning. Because this is the point at which you need to be building to a crescendo. Bill Belichick talks about November and December; right now his pass defense is in such disarray that Ben Roethlisberger's throwing it half-a-hundred times against them.

"The Patriots are going to have to outscore everybody down the stretch, I think."

Patriots reportedly deal Derby to Broncos for fifth-round pick


Patriots reportedly deal Derby to Broncos for fifth-round pick

The Patriots pulled off a rare deal with a rival on Tuesday. 

According to ESPN, they've sent tight end A.J. Derby to the Broncos in exchange for a fifth-round pick. 

Derby played in 33 offensive snaps over four games this season for the Patriots. A sixth-round draft choice in 2015 out of Arkansas, Derby spent most of his rookie season on injured reserve. 

One of the stars of the preseason for the Patriots, Derby caught 15 passes for 189 yards in four exhibition games. A former college quarterback for Iowa and Arkansas, Derby was named a practice player of the week by the Patriots when they were hurting for healthy signal-callers early in the season during Tom Brady's suspension.

The deal leaves the Patriots somewhat thin at the tight end position. They now have now true tight ends behind Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett. They do, however, have fullback James Develin, who meets with tight ends on a daily basis. On the practice squad, the Patriots have another fullback in Glenn Gronkowski. 

In Denver, Derby will compete with tight ends Virgil Green, Jeff Heuerman and John Phillips for time.

Patriots acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy from Lions


Patriots acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy from Lions

The Patriots acquired Kyle Van Noy, who was the Lions’ 2014 second-round pick and starting linebacker this season, on Tuesday. 

Why former Pats executive Bob Quinn would send a starter East for what is reportedly just a conditional draft pick is something we’ll try to ferret out.

The Patriots were no doubt interested because they lost Jonathan Freeny to IR with an injury, rookie Elandon Roberts is an undersized thumper (Van Noy is 6-3, 252) and Shea McClellin is well, just… there so far.

Van Noy has two years remaining on his rookie deal so -- provided he shows something -- he could be around awhile. The move -- one week before the trade deadline -- is a familiar one from the Patriots who added players like Jonathan Casillas and Akeem Ayers in 2014 prior to their Super Bowl run.

This story from last season indicates that Van Noy’s lack of production in his first two seasons with the Lions was merely a matter of circumstance. 

Perhaps. We’ll find out soon enough. Meanwhile, the name Van Noy made me perk up because I remembered him as having a central role in the excellent book The System by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian.

Read the excerpt on Van Noy here. It will give you a better understanding of the road he’s traveled.