Chiefs moving on in light of Cassel's injury


Chiefs moving on in light of Cassel's injury

FOXBORO -- The Patriots' defense is dealing with plenty of injuries. But Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley was quick to point out that his team is dealing with some significant injuries of its own entering Monday night's game at Gillette Stadium.

Perhaps the Chiefs' biggest injury was suffered by quarterback matt Cassel last Sunday in a loss to the Denver Broncos.

Cassel will miss his return to New England on Monday night, and it won't be because he's soft.

"He's a tough, tough guy, and has played through a lot of aches and pains here, since we've been together," said Haley. "I think he's most devastated that he's not going to be able to play, period, for our team. Because he's such a big part of our team, and the guys count on him. And he's a prideful, prideful, competitive guy that wants to play every week, and he's proven that.

"It's been impossible to really take him out of the lineup, barring maybe an organ removal ,and a couple of those things," added Haley. "It's disappointing to him, and I know we've got high goals and expectations for this year. And he'll just have to be on the sideline, rooting his teammates on, which I know that he will."

Replacing Cassel will be quarterback Tyler Palko. It will mark Palko's first career NFL start. And while some adjustments must be made to Kansas City's offensive attack because Palko throws left-handed, the Patriots' banged-up defense will see a similar offensive style from the Chiefs.

"Obviously, we've got a lefty, so some things are going to change," said Haley. "But Tyler's a drop-back quarterback, much like Matt. They have similar skill sets, so I don't think that we can dramatically make a whole bunch of adjustments, other than little tweaks here and there."

The Patriots will have to make some tweaks of their own, on the defensive end, as it doesn't look like cornerback Devin McCourty will be able to play on Monday night, after leaving Sunday's game against the Jets with a shoulder injury.

But still, the Chiefs know that the Patriots will make the proper adjustments, regardless of personnel.

"Their secondary has had some injury issues that they continue to fight through, but they're a competitive, tough group that makes plays at the right time, when they need them most," said Haley. "That has really helped their team win a bunch of games here.

"I think McCourty's a really good player," added Haley. "He plays physical, tough. But we've had our own share of injuries as New England has. Coach Belichick is one of the greats for a reason. And one of the key things to being a great coach in this league, and at any level really, is to develop your players that aren't necessarily frontline players, that are ready to play when they need to. I don't have any doubt that coach Belichick and his staff will have that done.

"So it's hard for me to look and say, well, we have a huge advantage in any area really."

A hungry ballplayer: Ex-Sox prospect Moncada sometimes eats 85 Twinkies a week

A hungry ballplayer: Ex-Sox prospect Moncada sometimes eats 85 Twinkies a week

This isn’t your average young and hungry player on the brink of the big leagues.

Yoan Moncada, the ex-Red Sox prospect who was one of the principal pieces in the trade for Chris Sale, has sometimes eaten as many as 85 Twinkies in a week, his agent told ESPN The Magazine

He's still in great shape. Moncada had a huge spring training with the White Sox after a disappointing major-league debut with Boston in September. 

"It's fair to say that Yoan took it as a very personal rejection," his agent, David Hastings, told ESPN The Magazine.

The 21-year-old third baseman has been optioned out of big-league camp, so he’s slated to start the year in Triple-A. But he hit .317 with a .391 on-base percentage and .683 slugging percentage and 3 home runs in 41 at-bats.

Moncada took a $31.5 million signing bonus from the Red Sox, money that the Sox turned into Sale. Moncada, meanwhile, didn’t exactly invest every cent.

Twinkies weren’t his only overindulgence. Per the ESPN The Magazine story, Moncada placed a call in 2015 inquiring about 10 customized cars. 

More from the story: 

Moncada had money to spend on drones, video games, toys and clothes. He sometimes spent $1,500 or more during nights out, David says. After he purchased the second $200,000 car, Josefa [Hastings, David’s wife] tried to talk some sense into him.

"You are being an idiot, just wasting all this money," she told him. "What are you even thinking?”

"Go big or go home," he told her with a smile.

Belichick headlines big-name crowd in attendance at Ohio State pro day


Belichick headlines big-name crowd in attendance at Ohio State pro day

Bill Belichick has counted both Urban Meyer and Greg Schiano among the list of coaches he trusts. On Thursday, the Patriots coach was in attendance at Ohio State's pro day to watch players who've been coached by both. 

Belichick has been closely tied to both Meyer and Schiano over the years, drafting multiple players from their programs when Meyer was at the University of Florida and Schiano was at Rutgers University. The Schiano connection has been particularly strong in recent years as Belichick's son, Steve, played for Schiano, and the Patriots had three key players in their secondary -- Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan -- for the last four seasons who studied under Schiano. 

Now the head coach and associate head coach/defensive coordinator, respectively, Meyer and Schiano have tutored some of this year's top draft prospects. Here's a quick breakdown of some of the top-tier talent hailing from Columbus this year . . . 

Malik Hooker, safety: The 6-foot-1, 206-pounder is expected to be the first true free safety off the board. His impressive ball skills made him a turnover waiting to happen in the Big Ten. 

Marshon Lattimore, corner: With a 38.5-inch vertical and a 4.36-second 40-yard dash time, Lattimore is one of the best draft-eligible athletes this year. He was hampered by hamstring injuries in college, but he's still projected to be one of the first defensive backs taken. 

Gareon Conley, corner: Among the draft's fastest risers after putting together a strong combine (4.44 40-yard dash, 6.68-second three-cone), Conley will give his next team good size (6-feet, 195 pounds) and length (33-inch arms). He may not be as polished as Lattimore, but still could very well be a first-round pick.

Pat Elflein, center: This smart, hard-working pivot may not have the world's best footwork, but he should be among the first players taken at his position. Elflein (6-foot-3, 300 pounds) is a former wrestler who has experience at both center and guard. 

Curtis Samuel, receiver: A true all-purpose threat in college (AP All-American, first-team All-Big Ten), he could have trouble adapting to life as a full-time receiver in the NFL. At 5-11, 196 pounds that's probably where he'll end up.

Raekwon McMillan, linebacker: At 6-2, 240 pounds McMillan was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some concern as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level. The Patriots, as we've noted, have been looking at the linebacker position throughout the pre-draft process.