Do NFL players need to take a stand?


Do NFL players need to take a stand?

At what point do you say enough is enough if you're an NFL player?

The time seems to have come for a handful of players who have publicly stated their unhappiness with the NFL replacement officials.

But will it go to the next level? Will players refuse to play? Will the NFLPA step in and do something.

It all sounds good, but retired Patriot Troy Brown says it's just not possible with the way things are constructed now.

"I don't think NFLPA can do anything with this new CBA they got," Brown said on Sports Tonight. "The commissioner has total control of suspending people without asking anybody else. I mean, they can't do anything about it. Their fine money goes wherever the commissioner says he wants it to go. They get fined for things like having their socks pulled down, shirts untucked They don't want the players looking a hot mess but the game's looking like a hot mess because it looks like bar fights all over these fields throughout the NFL."

The field may look like bar fights, but based on some calls we've seen, its the replacement officials who look like their watching the game after their 8th beer.

Boston Herald columnist Dan Shaughnessy knows how out of hand things have gotten, and even takes offense to the NFL trying to play the old "they got it right" card.

"The statement that came out today is pretty much an insult to our intelligence," Shaughnessy said. "Basically, nobody is buying that. We know what our eyes told us, what we saw."

Shaughnessy continued: "With the dollars that are being wages here, to have the product compromised over such a short amount of money is preposterous."

Five quick impressions: Patriots 27, Steelers 16

Five quick impressions: Patriots 27, Steelers 16

The Patriots went into Pittsburgh and beat an under-manned Steelers team Sunday afternoon, 27-16. Here are some of our quick takeaways.

PATRIOTS 27, STEELERS 16: Curran's Best and Worst | Troy Brown: Pittsburgh didn't capitalize on Pats' mistakes

-- With all eyes on the matchup between Antonio Brown and Malcolm Butler, the third-year Patriots corner held his own. After allowing nine catches for 133 yards to Brown in their first meeting last season, Butler allowed Brown to catch five passes for 90 yards Sunday. Butler also took advantage of some of the chances taken by Landry Jones, intercepting one pass intended for Brown in the end zone in the first quarter. Butler finished the day with two pass breakups and a pick on 10 targets. The four catches he allowed to Brown were the only catches he allowed in the game. 

-- Julian Edelman looked like Julian Edelman in the win. He caught 9 of the 10 targets sent his way for 60 yards, getting open underneath while seeing one-on-one coverage for much of the contest. Edelman has been on the injury report for the last two weeks, limited with a foot injury, but he was able to get open on the intermediate routes that has made him one of Tom Brady's favorite targets over the last few years. Edelman did have one drop on third down, and he did fumble a punt return, which allows us to . . . 

-- . . . take a look at what was a rough day for Patriots special teams units. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed yet another extra point -- his second in as many weeks. He has now missed five kicks on the season, including three field goals. The Patriots kickoff unit also had a difficult day, allowing three kicks to be returned past the 25-yard line. The punt-coverage team made one costly error at the end of the first half when Brandon Bolden kicked a bouncing ball out of the back of the Steelers end zone. Instead of the Pittsburgh drive starting at the 6-yard line, where Bolden touched the football, it came out to the 20. At the end of the half, the Steelers kicked a 32-yard field goal. Bolden also dropped a third-down pass that would have gone for a first down. On another punt, it appeared as though Bolden got up slowly after trying to down the ball near the goal line. It was his first game back after suffering a knee injury in Week 4.

-- LeGarrette Blount had a big day against his former team. The 250-pound back didn't want to be a story line earlier in the week, denying interview requests, saying that he would speak after the game on Sunday. His performance at Heinz Field will certainly keep those requests coming. He ran 24 times for 127 yards and two touchdowns, beating up on the Steelers front-seven late in the game as New England protected its lead. 

-- While the Patriots offensive line provided Blount with enough room to run, it was a relatively sloppy day for Brady's protection up front. Left tackle Nate Solder turned in one drive during which he allowed a pressure and was then flagged for back-to-back holding penalties (one of which was declined). Shaq Mason also appeared to have trouble with Pittsburgh's Jarvis Jones, allowing a couple of pressures and picking up a flag for holding. Joe Thuney and David Andrews -- both of whom had good blocks on James White's score -- also picked up penalties. There will be plenty for offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia to pick at and try to improve in the coming week of practice.