Lowell: '11 Sox were a little bit wrong, a little bit right

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Lowell: '11 Sox were a little bit wrong, a little bit right

Mike Lowell retired at the end of the 2010 season and thus watched the Red Sox' September collapse last year -- and its subsequent firestorm -- from afar. But not so afar that he doesn't think he has a handle on what actually happened.

"It's so hard for me to say this or that was going on, because I really wasn't there," he said Wednesday during an appearance on 'Felger & Mazz'. "I mean, I read a lot of the reports of how crazy things got. And to be honest with you I probably take half of what was reported and throw it away and take half of what the players said in their own defense and throw it away, and the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

"Do I think guys were in the clubhouse with their legs up, ordering fried chicken and not caring about baseball? That's a little bit of a stretch for me, especially having played with most of those guys. But do I think maybe there were times where, you know, maybe they did something wrong? . . .
"I've always taken the approach that if you think you're doing it wrong, it's probably wrong. Did they go a little bit past their boundaries at times? Yeah, maybe they did. But to say that no one has ever drank a beer in a clubhouse, or no one has ever had a piece of fast food isn't true . . .

"I think a little bit got exaggerated and maybe blown out of proportion because of the way they performed on the field in September. If they would have won, let's say, 20 out of the last 27, I think people would have said, 'Look at this team, how talented they are. They can order beer, chicken and play video games and still win baseball games. They must be unbelievable.'

"So I think the ultimate factor of how important all that stuff is, is whether you win or lose on the field."

Patriots have perfect attendance at Thursday walkthrough

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Patriots have perfect attendance at Thursday walkthrough

FOXBORO -- The Patriots opted to have a walkthrough on Thursday, an in-season rarity for Bill Belichick's club. 

The low-key session makes sense, though. Because the team practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, it will still have two practices under its belt, as it usually does every week. Now, instead of having just one walkthrough on a Friday, as the Patriots do typically, they'll have had two. 

All players were present for the on-the-field work, including quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. Members of the media were only able to watch the team walk onto the field, and they were treated to a fashion show of sorts. Bill Belichick stood out with his hooded sweatshirt, as did Jamie Collins, who for some reason wore plastic bags around his gloves. Practice squad defensive lineman Geneo Grissom brought a bit of a business casual look to the field, sporting a collared shirt under his sweatshirt.

McDaniels’ tenure as Patriots’ OC likely winding down

McDaniels’ tenure as Patriots’ OC likely winding down

FOXBORO - A long, detailed, well-written, behind-the-scenes look at Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels achieves two things.

The article, written for Bleacher Report by longtime NFL reporter Dan Pompei , investigates the growth of McDaniels as a person and coach since his ill-fated run as Denver Broncos head coach. And it serves as a de facto announcement of McDaniels’ suitability and availability as a head coaching candidate after 2016.

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McDaniels deserves the recognition and the second chance. Mistakes and miscalculations he made when he was 33 and 34 shouldn’t be a millstone for the rest of his coaching career. If second chances weren’t given to Bill Belichick, Mike Shanahan and Tony Dungy, they wouldn’t have combined for seven Super Bowl wins.

That Pompei got the go-ahead from McDaniels and Belichick to write this story now – complete with in-depth quotes from both of them and Tom Brady about McDaniels’ growth – shouldn’t be dismissed. It’s unusual for a piece like this to emerge in-season.

So why are we seeing it now? What should we infer?

First, that McDaniels – now 40 – wants the record on him updated. He takes a measure of blame for mismanaging the Jay Cutler situation in Denver ("I learned the hard way," he says. "We could have avoided that, no question."), he talks about the importance of delegating and about forging better relationships with players and assistants.

Second, having the record updated won’t hurt when the offseason vacancies emerge and that he’d like to be in the mix.

Third, Belichick speaking to Pompei is ostensibly an endorsement of McDaniels candidacy as well. From that, you can infer that Belichick appreciates McDaniels’ work, is willing to help McDaniels realize McDaniels’ coaching goals, does not have immediate plans to step aside himself (as McDaniels inferred on the radio this week) and probably has a succession plan in place. Brian Daboll, who – McDaniels noted in the story – prepared a third-down scouting report, would be the likely successor.

That anecdote was an interesting one:

Not long ago, Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll was assigned to put together a third-down scouting report. Daboll came up with a new way of presenting it. He ran it by McDaniels first. It gave McDaniels pause. In the past, he would have told him to redo it the way that McDaniels was most comfortable. But he knew Daboll felt good about the report and had worked hard on it.

Green light given.

"As much as we are on the same staff, we don't all think the same," McDaniels says. "That's OK. Before, I might have been frustrated with that. Now I feel that's a healthy thing."

Last season, McDaniels passed on interviewing for head-coaching positions. There were options, he just didn’t take any. Part of that, no doubt, had to do with the head coach-front office-ownership stability that seemed to be lacking in many of the opportunities that arose.

This offseason, with former Patriots’ executives Bob Quinn in Detroit and Jon Robinson in Tennessee, the landscape could be more comfortable if those positions open up.

Full disclosure, I think McDaniels is a talented coach and the first three games of 2016 should have teams looking to make a switch on high alert. He deserves and will get his next shot. Pompei’s feature indicates the time is approaching.