Pats need discipline vs. Denver option


Pats need discipline vs. Denver option

FOXBORO -- The option offense is run-of-the-mill in high school football. It's a little less prevalent, but still very common, at the college level. But by the time players reach the NFL, the very words "option offense" have been essentially wiped from their lexicon.

That's not the case in Denver. Head coach John Fox and the Broncos coaching staff tailored new offensive game plans to fit the unique skill set of their quarterback Tim Tebow, and the option re-emerged.

That means the Patriots have to go back to school and re-teach themselves on the principles of how to defend it.

"It's basically being disciplined," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "Someone's gotta take the quarterback, someone's gotta take the the pitch, someone's gotta take the dive."

Tebow ran the option while playing at the University of Florida, and was just as much a threat to run as he was to pass -- maybe even more so. It's why some projected him as a running back or fullback coming out of college. But Tebow, Fox and the Broncos have made the option work. And their version is likely more complicated than any that the Patriots defensive players ever saw during their amateur playing days.

"They have different ways that they're going to run it," Belichick said. "There are different option combinations which is tough. They're not always the same. You have to have different rules. It definitely stresses the force element on the perimeter of the defense."

On option plays, the Patriots will have to try to read whether Tebow is handing it off, running with it himself around the end, or pitching to a running back. Making those reads quickly has been one of the challenges the Pats' defense has encountered this week in practice. The middle of the defense has to be especially aware on the initial read: Did Tebow hand the ball off or keep it?

"Some of those dive plays they hit so quickly," Belichick said. "The normal guy lines up seven, seven-and-a-half, eight yards deep in an I-formation. At the line of scrimmage it's a whole different tempo. The dive guy pops right through there, sometimes before the defenders realize it. It's something we've have to adjust to in practice. With our defensive linemen, sometimes the back was already by them before they realized it.

"They're not used to that, playing the game that quickly. Denver will give us some problems with all those combinations that they use."

Turner jokes that Celtics will retire his number

Turner jokes that Celtics will retire his number

It’s not the craziest thing someone has said on Twitter, but Evan Turner tweeted Monday that the Celtics should retire his number. 

It was a joke, of course, as the former Celtic was reacting to news that Isaiah Thomas had said he liked the No. 11 and would change his jersey number if so many people in Boston hadn’t already purchased his No. 4 jersey. 

After Turner joked that No. 11 was going to be retired, Thomas joked back that he would wear No. 11 as a tribute to the current Trail Blazer. 

Prior to being traded to Boston, Thomas wore No. 22 for Sacramento and No. 3 for Phoenix. 

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

For weeks the speculation regarding Josh McDaniels wasn't a matter of "if" but "when."

But while national media had McDaniels signed, sealed and delivered to multiple landing spots, the proposition that he'd leave at all was never a likelihood. 


The Rams weren't attractive to him from the outset. Jacksonville didn't excite him, either. And on Monday, he passed on the 49ers opportunity. 

The lure of a blank slate in San Fran at quarterback and GM didn't outpace the uncertainty of going cross-country to work for a seemingly dysfunctional franchise that's cycled rapidly through coaches and has an unrealistic sense that it's a long, long way removed from its glory days, the only remnant remaining from that being perhaps the logo on the helmet. 

With four kids and a job McDaniels considers one of the 10 best on coaching -- head man or no -- he will stay on as the Patriots' offensive coordinator.

"I was really impressed with (Niners owner) Jed York and (team executive) Paraag Marathe . . . and the people that came from the 49ers organization," McDaniels said on a conference call this morning. "They did a great job with their presentation. Humbled to be included in that process. At this time it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

The same faulty speculative reasoning that had McDaniels as good as gone from the Patriots will move on undeterred today and surmise that McDaniels is staying with the Patriots because he knows, or has been promised, that he'll receive the head coaching job when Bill Belichick steps aside. 

While the Kraft family certainly thinks highly of McDaniels and that could come to pass, anyone tapping their foot and checking their watch waiting for Belichick to step down is in for a long wait. He's showing no signs of wrapping it up and, while I haven't been told directly McDaniels isn't the automatic successor, he wouldn't be taking interviews at all if he were assured that. 

What will be interesting to see is whether interest remains high in him for other jobs or the perception that he's never going to leave means teams don't bother to ask. San Fran obviously had its heart set on McDaniels. Even though Nick Caserio passed on the chance to interview with the Niners for their open GM job, the team did talk to Louis Riddick about the spot. He and McDaniels have high regard for each other. 

Between McDaniels, Caserio and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, the people closest to Belichick on the coaching flow chart all had chances to go somewhere else and all passed on the chance. It's another example of not why the Patriots are good but why they remain good. Stability.