48 lines on 24 NFL issues


48 lines on 24 NFL issues

Twenty-four thoughts, forty-eight lines:1. Your semi-regular Chad Ochocinco report. In 148 games as a Cincinnati Bengal, Ocho had two or fewer catches 10 times and was never shut out; he's made 0 catches in the last two games and has yet to catch three passes in a single game as a Patriot. 2. So far, Ocho has earned 611,111 for each one of his nine catches. And 11 cents - take care of the pennies and the dollars take care of themselves, right? 3. That thing that Chris Berman does where he uses every cubic centimeter of air in his body so that he doesn't have to take another breath and winds up sounding like he's about to expire by the end of the sentence? I don't love that thing. 4. Lotta arm-flapping and cluck-clucking over the fact that Charger guard Kris Dielman had a seizure on the team plane after suffering a concussion in the Jets game. Dielman reeled around the field and wobbled back to the huddle after pulling around to deliver a block on Calvin Pace. 5. Who's the one that deserves the most blame? Dielman. 6. The officials are watching the play so when a player canters by and they ask if he's okay, they don't know what happened. The coaches have no angle whether they're on the sideline or upstairs in the press box. 7. Everybody's got other stuff to do. If you want to get home to your wife and kids with your brain in working order, you might want to pipe up when you are walking around after a block like you're on the deck of the S.S. Minnow. 8. So you can blame the helmet makers, the NFL, the coaches or the whole system if you want. Doing so lets the player off the personal-responsibility hook, though. 9. Look, the Patriots can certainly win with the wide receivers and offensive weaponry they have. They play the most evolved style of NFL football ever morphing week-to-week, play-to-play, even huddle-to-line-of-scrimmage. 10. Anyone worried about the offense not being good enough needs a hot bath, a cold shower and something else to do with their Sundays. That person has no idea what heshe is looking at. 11. HOWEVER! Unless their opponents are complicit in beating themselves offensively -- as the Cowboys, Jets and Chargers all were in not attacking the Patriots' secondary -- the offense needs to continuescoring in the 30s. 12. And the offense will have a harder time doing that with the success other teams have had playing press man-to-man, which reduces the efficiency of Wes Welker (12 catches, 84 yards the past two games) and Rob Gronkowski.A field-stretcher that terrifies corners and safeties (like the Steelers' Mike Wallace) would alter the pressure defense. 13. To me, the barrier between getting to Indy in February comes down to this: either get better at stopping offenses or make your offense even harder to stop. Improving the offense seems a quicker fix than improving the defense. 14. So I'll say it: Moss. 15. What's the Patriots' greatest drafting blind spot? Is it wide receiver, linebacker, safety or corner? 16. The notion that the Patriots should hire a GM to take the personnel duties off of Bill Belichick's full plate may seem intriguing at first thought. But then give it a second one. 17. Will that GM have say over Belichick? Will that GM come from outside the organization? 18. Think Belichick is going to sign off on answering to someone at this juncture no matter how many high-draft picks have gone bellyup and free-agent signings have gone bust? Me, neither. 19. But if someone else in some other town had fanned on almost the entire 2006 draft, the entire 2007 draft, top-50 picks in '08 and '09, Adalius Thomas, Shawn Springs, Derrick Burgess, Tully Banta-Cain, Leigh Bodden, Chad Ochonono, Shaun Ellis and Albert Haynesworth? Right, that guy would be sitting next to Eric Mangini and Herm Edwards in Bristol. 20. And current personnel overseer Nick Caserio does absolutely nothing to inspire an iota of confidence that he's going to change Belichick's mind about anything, ever. He may be smart, he may be well-spoken but I want to see if there's a string on his back that you pull and programmed Belichick-speak just pours out of his head. 21. Antwaun Molden was the scaredest guy in America this Halloween. On that blitz where Patrick Chung came from the safety spot, Molden sprinted 20 yards downfield because he had no over-the-top help on Mike Wallace, who caught a WR screen and gained 12. 22. I believe it's time to take the Buffalo Bills quite seriously. But check out the stretch they now face -- the Jets on Sunday then three in a row and four out of five on the road. 23. It's always about the Ryans, isn't it? Yeah, they're funny and good at coaching defensive football, but is there any way they could get over themselves and not act as if they are the sun around which the NFL turns? 24. Mike Tomlin, making sense discussing the decision by Belichick to attempt an onsides kick on Sunday. "Based on the evidence that he was looking at, we hadnt punted in the football game. I know that if I was in his position I wouldve done the same thing. I would have tried to get the ball just based on what had transpired in the stadium to that point. We had yet to punt offensively. He needed the ball. So he took an opportunity with something that he felt good about, of course, from an execution standpoint, which was the onside kick.

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season


Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

When it comes to projecting Rob Gronkowski's health, it's been best to steer clear of absolutes. There have been too many injuries, too many surgeries, to predict exactly how he'll feel months in advance. 

Still, in speaking with ESPN's Cari Champion recently, he said he had "no doubt" he'll be ready for Week 1 of the 2017 regular season. 

"Yes, for sure," he replied when asked if he expected to be good to go. 

Gronkowski also fielded a question about his long-term future in the sit-down. Lately it's been his coach Bill Belichick and his quarterback Tom  Brady who receiver all the life-after-football queries, but Gronkowski, 27, was asked how much longer he'd like to play. 

"I’m not really sure," he said. "I mean, I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I possibly could play. My mindset is to keep on going."

Gronkowski landed on season-ending injured reserve in December after undergoing a procedure on his back -- his third back surgery since 2009. He's had nine reported surgeries -- including procedures on his knee, forearm and ankle -- since his final year at the University of Arizona. 

Gronkowski doesn't think Goodell can visit Gillette: 'The fans are nuts'


Gronkowski doesn't think Goodell can visit Gillette: 'The fans are nuts'

At this point, there may be no getting out of it.

Roger Goodell chose to visit Atlanta twice in as many weeks during its run to a Super Bowl, and in the process he opted not to check in at Gillette Stadium for either the Divisional Round or the AFC title game. But once the Patriots won Super Bowl LI, many felt as though Goodell would simply have no choice but to attend the 2017 regular-season opener in Foxboro. 

There are those who are itching to have him visit. There are those who hope he stays away. In an interview with ESPN, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski didn't put himself in either camp, but he seemed to suggest that it might not be the best idea for the commissioner to show his face in New England.

"To tell you the truth, I really don’t think so," Gronkowski said when asked if Goodell could come back to Foxboro any time soon. "The fans are nuts, they’re wild, and they have the Patriots’ back no matter what. They have Tom’s back. I’m telling you, he won’t get through the highway if the fans saw him. I don’t even think he can even land in the airport in Boston because Patriot fans are the best fans, they’re the most loyal fans. I’m telling you, they might just carry out Roger themselves. They couldn’t even get to the stadium in Foxboro if he landed in Boston."

Goodell hasn't been to Gillette Stadium since Deflategate, but he said during Super Bowl week that he'd be happy to visit if he was invited.