Chargers president lauds Pats pickup of Brown

donald-brown-chargers-broncos.jpg

Chargers president lauds Pats pickup of Brown

BOCA RATON – Somewhat buried in the avalanche of last week’s Patriots transactions was the pickup of free agent running back Donald Brown.

If you line up the other acquisitions made – Chris Hogan, Martellus Bennett, Shea McClellin, Jonathan Cooper and a second-round pick – Brown created the smallest buzz. Probably because he’s had the slightest impact.

Over his past two seasons in San Diego, Brown accounted for 144 carries and 452 yards and a touchdown. The (almost) 29-year-old – a first-round pick in 2009 by the Colts – has started just 25 games in seven seasons.

But the team Brown leaves behind thinks that, in New England, Brown is going to find football Valhalla.

“He is such a perfect Patriots signing,” said John Spanos at the NFL Owner’s Meetings on Saturday night. “I would bet anything he’s going to be a productive player for them.”

Why didn’t it work out in San Diego?

“This past year, we drafted Melvin (Gordon) with the 15th pick and we had Woodhead and the opportunities just weren’t there. And before that we had Ryan Mathews. He’s a good player. It just didn’t work out here but I believe it will for him there. Perfect player for them. And he’s a guy who’ll be the first guy in, does his work, does whatever he’s asked and just keeps to himself. He’s one of the players you really root for after they leave.”

The financial outlay for Brown is minimal. It’s a one-year, $965K deal with $300K guaranteed. He’ll come in with the chance to compete for reps in a running back group that includes sub-back Dion Lewis, Brandon Bolden, James White and Tyler Gaffney. White figures to be the guy that will find himself in immediate and direct competition with Brown.

Harbaugh: Proposal to ban field-goal leap seems like it will have league support

patriots_shea_mcclellin_block_121216.jpg

Harbaugh: Proposal to ban field-goal leap seems like it will have league support

PHOENIX -- One of the plays that the Patriots have helped bring to the forefront in recent seasons appears as though it could very well be banned by the end of the day on Tuesday. 

The league will vote on a variety of rules proposals at Biltmore Hotel, one of which would outlaw the field-goal leap play that the Patriots have employed with linebackers Jamie Collins and Shea McClellin over the course of the last two years. 

Collins blocked an Adam Vinatieri kick during a regular-season game in 2015, and McClellin got a Justin Tucker boot last season. The Patriots called for McClellin to leap the line in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, but he was penalized -- a ruling that Bill Belichick argued vociferously.

The feeling here over the last few days has been those types of plays will be banned because of the threat they pose to players who could be upended, potentially injuring their heads or necks. The rule change was officially proposed by Philadelphia. 

Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who has coached special teams during various stops in his coaching career dating back to 1988, said during the AFC coaches breakfast that he felt those plays would be eliminated during Tuesday's vote. 

"It is dangerous," he said. "If a guy gets flipped on his head, I think that's really something that, if something bad happens, we're all going to be responsible for that. That's not good. I also think it's going to get stopped because teams will defend it better, they're going to be looking for it. But when that guy jumps from the top, he's either going to get hit from underneath or hit from the side, and he's probably not in a great position to defend himself.

"Now the other argument that gets made is a receiver jumps up in the air, gets cut, he gets put in that situation, too. That's kind of the counter argument. I understand that argument as well. Probably, it's risk-reward. Is it really worth putting that guy in that situation? That's what we're going to vote on later. I think it probably passes."

While Harbaugh acknowledged there is a threat to any player who leaves his feet, he acknowledged that there is a distinction between a player deciding to jump following a split-second decision in the heat of competition versus a coach calling for a player to potentially put himself at risk.

Another kicking game-related rule change on the docket is one proposed by Washington in which a kickoff booted through the uprights would lead to a touchback where the ball is spotted at the 20-yard line as opposed to the 25.

Harbaugh gave that idea a thumbs-up in part, he admitted, because he has one of the strongest kickers in the league in Tucker.

"Justin likes it, too," Harbaugh said. "I know everyone's going to say, 'Well, OK, just because it benefits them.' And we all consider that when rules changes get made. Anybody who says otherwise is lying. But it adds excitement to the play.

"We've taken a lot of kickoff returns out of the game. We got a touchdown, we got a review, we got a commerical . . . we have an extra point, we have another set of commercials, then we have a touchback . . . [then] commercials! That's not good. Anything we can do to make it a little more interesting.

"We proposed make [a kickoff through the uprights] a point. Now people are going to say well that's because of Justin Tucker. Yes. It's also because everybody will be watching that kickoff, especially if the wind is at his back. They say it can't be defended, [but] we can change that too. Let's get a guy under the uprights . . . Let him leap up there and see if he can bat the thing down. Anything that adds excitement to the game that's safe? I'm for."

Harbaugh: 'Very Patriot-like' to recognize Lawrence Guy's value

new-england-patriots-lawrence-guy-31117.jpg

Harbaugh: 'Very Patriot-like' to recognize Lawrence Guy's value

PHOENIX -- With Bill Belichick abstaining from the AFC coaches breakfast, it provided us an opportunity to seek out others in the conference to provide some perspective on the moves the Patriots have made this offseason. 

One of the moves that has received the least amount of buzz has been the acquisition of free-agent defensive lineman Lawrence Guy, who spent the last two seasons and most of 2014 with the Ravens. 

From Baltimore coach John Harbaugh's perspective, Guy's signing with the Patriots made perfect sense.

"I just think they're getting a great guy, and they're going to love him because he's a really good football player," Harbaugh said. "He's a very under-rated, under-valued player. I thought it was very Patriot-like to recognize his value and to pay him the way they did. I think they paid him very well and in a way that's going to change his life forever so I'm really happy for him."

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Guy, who turned 27 on March 17, visited the Patriots early in free agency and signed soon thereafter. He played in all 16 games for Baltimore last season, seeing 46.4 percent of the defensive snaps, and in a Week 14 game against the Patriots, he recorded one quarterback hit and one hurry.

Guy's versatility to play as an end or on the interior should vibe well in New England where players rotate in and out of games and from one position to another on a regular basis. 

"They're going to get a guy that plays equally well against the run and the pass, plays super hard, will be excellent in the locker room and in the meeting room," Harbaugh said.

They're also getting a hugger, apparently. That's one area where Harbaugh was jokingly a little unsure of Guy's fit with his new club.

"Now he gives me a big hug, a big Lawrence Guy bear hug, pretty much everytime I see him," Harbaugh said with a smile. "I'm looking forward to when Lawrence gives Coach Belichick a big Lawrence Guy bear hug. Can't wait to see that. Make sure you get that on camera."