Belichick: This is best DL draft class in memory


Belichick: This is best DL draft class in memory

By Tom E. Curran

The 2011 NFL draft is stocked with talent among front-seven defenders, Patriots coach Bill Belichick told me this week. And when it comes to finding players who might make impactson thedefensive line, Belichick says there's more of those "than in any draft I can remember.""There is a lot of depth at the top of the draft," said Belichick. "Some good defensive front seven players and on the defensivefront, probably more depth than in any draft I can remember."The full five-minute interview (complete with wordy, meandering questions from me) will air in its entirety during the Quick Slants Draft Special Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet New England. Belichick also said that, when it comes to trade offers, the Patriots have "been on the receiving end of more calls than we've made" during the run-up to the draft. The Patriots own the 17th, 28th and 33rd overall picks. They have two picks in each of the first three rounds. "You always have to be ready to pick," said Belichick. "Theres no guarantee there will be a trade. If you're looking to trade up, you're looking to move up where you can go get a certain player. Draft trades are made for players. Not picks. You dont want picks, you want a guy."In less than a week, we'll find out which guy(s) New England wanted. In addition to the Belichick sitdown, the Quick Slants Draft Special features a roundtable with Jerod Mayo, Patrick Chung and Dane Fletcher on their draft experiences, conversations with prospects Cam Jordan and Ryan Williams, a segment with National Football Post draft expert Wes Bunting and - as always - viewer comments and opinions during the interactive segments with Mary Paoletti.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Felger: 'The Oakland Raiders are garbage, and they always have been'

Felger: 'The Oakland Raiders are garbage, and they always have been'

Want a classic Felger rant? Or forget Felger; a classic rant, period?

Watch the video above as Michael Felger eviscerates the Oakland Raiders.

"You know what the Oakland Raiders are? And their fans, and their city? A bunch of dirtbags," Felger said Tuesday on Felger & Mazz. "If that's not the most overrated team and organization in the history of sports, I don't know what is . . . That is a garbage organization and it has always has been.

"And the way people are treating them now, like . . . the Green Bay Packers or the Boston Celtics or the Montreal Canadiens or the New York Yankees are moving, is laughable. Laughable! The Oakland Raiders are garbage. And they always have been."

There's more . . . ,much more. Watch the video to hear the full treatment.

Rules changes are in: Field-goal leap, crackback blocks banned

Rules changes are in: Field-goal leap, crackback blocks banned

PHOENIX -- The NFL has announced which rules, bylaw and resolution proposals passed following Tuesday's vote at the Arizona Biltmore. The full list is below, but here are a couple of the noteworthy changes from a Patriots perspective . . . 

* That leap-the-line play that Jamie Collins and Shea McClellin have executed for the Patriots over the course of the last two seasons? That's been prohibited, as expected. The league did not want coaches to be responsible for putting a player in a position where he may suffer a head or neck injury. (Which is different from a player putting himself in that position with a split-second decision to leave his feet mid-play.)


* Receivers running pass routes can now be considered "defenseless." That means that even within the five-yard "chuck" area beyond the line of scrimmage, receivers will have some measure of protection. The Patriots, like many teams, have called for linebackers to disrupt the routes of shallow crossers, which can lead to monster hits on unexpecting players. Those types of collisions may now be fewer and farther between.

* Crackback blocks are now prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if the player is not more than two yards outside the tackle box at the snap. What's the Patriots connection here? It seems that maybe the overtime play that won Super Bowl LI -- during which Julian Edelman came in motion and "cracked" down on corner Brian Poole -- is now illegal. The wording here is a little odd and will require some clarification when the league holds its press conference describing the rules changes later on Tuesday. 

Approved 2017 Playing Rules Proposals

2a. By Philadelphia; Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays. (Final language will be available on  

8.   By Competition Committee; Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. 

9.   By Competition Committee; Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line for one year only. 

11. By Competition Committee; Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection. 

12. By Competition Committee; Makes crackback blocks prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped. 

13. By Competition Committee; Replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the Officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews. 

14. By Competition Committee; Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock. 

15. By Competition Committee; Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.

Approved 2017 Bylaw Proposals

4.     By Competition Committee; Liberalizes rules for timing, testing, and administering physical examinations to draft-eligible players at a club’s facility for one year only. 

5.     By Competition Committee; Changes the procedures for returning a player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness to the Active List to be similar to those for returning a player that was Designated for Return.  

6.     By Competition Committee; The League office will transmit a Personnel Notice to clubs on Sundays during training camp and preseason.

Approved 2017 Resolution Proposal

G-4.     By Competition Committee: Permits a contract or non-contract non-football employee to interview with and be hired by another club during the playing season, provided the employer club has consented.