Oft-awful official Pete Morelli will call Pats-Texans

Oft-awful official Pete Morelli will call Pats-Texans

If you want to get an early jump on complaining about the officials for Saturday night, it probably won’t go to waste. The sad-faced, oft-blundering Pete Morelli is referee for the AFC divisional playoff game at Foxboro between the Patriots and Texans.

The NFL goes to “all-star” crews for the postseason so Morelli won’t be surrounded by his usual cohorts. There are, however, three officials from Carl Cheffers’ crew working with Morelli and two from Jeff Triplette’s crew.

Former VP of Officiating, Mike Pereira, has pointed out the stupidity of breaking up officiating crews that spend six months working together so that the biggest games are officiated by guys who may have never met before the week of the game. 

Meanwhile, as to Morelli, while all officials will stub their toes occasionally, Morelli’s 2015 season was a shipwreck.  

There have been some bad days as well in 2016 for Morelli, including calling a defensive player from Detroit for being illegally downfield in a game against the Eagles. They forgot which team was on offense. 

One of his blunders in Foxboro was a victimless and amusing crime. He left his mic on during the Bills’ 16-0 win at Gillette and opined that, while the game was pretty good, “One big hit and this s**t could explode.” 

So there’s your solace. Improv.

Unconventional NFL draft grades

Unconventional NFL draft grades

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Caserio: Brady's age has nothing to do with draft approach

Caserio: Brady's age has nothing to do with draft approach

FOXBORO -- The Patriots took four players in this year's draft. Four. That's the smallest draft class in team history

Instead, as Bill Belichick highlighted on Friday night, they spent multiple picks in this year's draft to pick up proven commodities. 

* Their first and third-rounders were sent to New Orleans in exchange for receiver Brandin Cooks and a fourth. 

* Their second-rounder ended up in Carolina, bringing defensive end Kony Ealy and a third to New England. 

* They lost a fourth-rounder to Deflategate and sent another away in order to pry tight end Dwayne Allen and a sixth-rounder from the Colts. 

* They sent a fifth-rounder to Buffalo as compensation for signing restricted free agent running back Mike Gillislee. 

* Before last season the Patriots sent a fifth to Cleveland for linebacker Barkevious Mingo. 

* Before last season's trade deadline they sent a sixth-round pick to Detroit for Kyle Van Noy and a seventh-rounder. 

"Obviously, we’ve been watching a lot of picks go by," Belichick said on Friday, "but I feel like overall our opportunity in this draft started a couple of months ago. The four players that we acquired already are also part of the draft process. Hopefully we’ve been able to improve our team, become more competitive. That’s the ultimate goal."

Even on the last day of the draft, the Patriots didn't stop trading picks for veterans when they sent No. 183 overall to Kansas City in exchange for tight end James O'Shaughnessy

But when Nick Caserio was asked on Saturday if his team's approach to the draft -- taking more established players instead of gambling on draft picks -- had anything to do with Tom Brady's age, he shot down that theory.

“That has zero to do with it,” Caserio said. “I would say really the team-building process is very fluid. How it is going to go? There’s no template. There is no book with how it is going to go. 

"There’s a lot of really good players that were in this draft that have been drafted and will help their respective teams. We understand that and understand we felt the same way. There were enough players up there that we felt good about. We take the resources that we have and we try and make the best decision for our team."

In reality, the approach of taking such a small number of draftees is probably more a reflection of the current roster than the quarterback's age. It's loaded, and it seems like there will be relatively few opportunities for rookies to make the Week 1 roster.