Curran: 17 Patriots thoughts in 34 lines


Curran: 17 Patriots thoughts in 34 lines

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran 1. Zoltan Mesko was seen Monday afternoon walking without a limp around aFoxboro-area shopping plaza. Good sign for the punter, who got his left legcrumpled Sunday afternoon. 2. As of late Monday, the final diagnosis on Aaron Hernandez' knee wasn't in. He's out this week but the severity of the MCL injury will either keep him down for a game or two or - if it's as banged up as suspected - down for at least four games. 3. With Hernandez down, I think Chad Ochocinco is poised fora breakout week against the Bills. The third-down catch he made while being interfered with that went for 15 yards was a brilliant play. 4. I'm not sure what bus Eric Weddle was running to catch on the30-yarder to Ochocinco. The big-money safety was headed in the exact wrong direction as the pass came in. 5. Weddle had a very long day dealing with Rob Gronkowski. Not impressive for a guy being paid 40 million over eight years with 19 million in guarantees. 6. (Special extra lines!) Bill Belichickon Tom Brady trying to steal the third-down conversion on third-and-four that led to the Pats facing fourth-and-four early in the fourth: "I think everybody was doing what they thought was best. They were trying hard. I dont think there were plays where we were just asleep and just got caught napping or something like that. We tried to do what we thought was best. It didnt always work out. Maybe it wasnt always the best decision myself included but I think we all were trying to do the right thing, trying to do the best thing. But when youre playing a good football team like that, it doesnt always work out." In other words, nice try but not what we were looking for there. 7. "We just sit there and look dumb like everybody else and then they come back and say it was a touchdown or if it wasnt, they tell us it wasnt." That's Belichick on the review of the Chargers final touchdown or the extra point - couldn't tell which. 8. If Andre Carter gets fined for his takedown of Philip Rivers in the second quarter in addition to the 15-yard penalty that was called, it will be a disservice to the sport of football. Asking these guys to unlearn what they were taught since they were 7-years-old is absurd. 9. With Patrick Chung now in a cast as well, the Patriots' two starting safeties - Chung and Josh Barrett - have two good hands between them. The Bills figure to attack them with 6-foot-7, 263-pound tight end Scott Chandler on Sunday. 10. Danny Woodhead had just six touches on Sunday. Aside from last year's regular-season finale when he got hurt and his first game with the Pats, that's tied for his fewest chances (126 vs. New York; 1114 vs. Pittsburgh). 11. With 15 catches for 222 yards, Deion Branch is off to the most productive start of his career. In 2005, he had 15 catches for 159 yards; he's never had more than nine catches in his first two games other than this year and 2005. 12. ESPNBoston's Mike Reiss documented that second-year, second-round linebackerDE Jermaine Cunningham was on the field for a grand total of one defensive snap. A kind way of phrasing this disuse would be that he's trying to establish a role.13. Taylor Price has now been active for a grand total of one NFL game. The wideout created such a preseason stir but an injured hamstring and the fact that better, veteran players are ahead of him (or are more important on special teams) has kept him down. 14. Some would say the Patriots don't do a great job developing young wide receivers. Between Brandon Tate, Chad Jackson and - so far, Price - I would agree with them. 15. There's a ton of concern right now about the Patriots defense and why it's been so permissive. My suspicion is that it's very, very far from being at its highest compete level and will be very good come midseason. 16. Devin McCourty has shown in the first two games that the title "shutdown corner" doesn't yet fit him. But he'll be happy this week to be away from beasts like Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson. 17. Lions wideout Nate Burleson wants to fashion himself into "the black Wes Welker."I'm looking to become the paler Mike Giardi.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Rob Gronkowski appears to thoroughly enjoy himself at Daytona 500

Rob Gronkowski appears to thoroughly enjoy himself at Daytona 500

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski attended the Dayton 500 in true Gronkowski form.

He appeared to be there promoting Monster Energy drink, and was therefore hanging with the Monster Girls, who were also promoting the drink. Gronkowski's herniated disc injury, which required surgery in December 2016, does not seem to be slowing him down as he gets warmed up for the Summer of Gronk.

During the race coverage on FOX Sports, Gronk delivered a speed limit joke, which is sure to make the 13-year-old in you chuckle. (You can watch it here.)


Curran: It's time to let the air out of Deflategate

Curran: It's time to let the air out of Deflategate

I think it’s time. Time to let the Deflategate wound scab over. Time to exit the active, raging, teeth-gnashing, petition-signing, lawsuit-filing portion of the program and let the hate follow its natural course into a slow-boil loathing.

If you are of Irish descent, you know how it works. Clear a big-ass space on the grudge shelf. Put Roger Goodell, Jeff Pash, Mike Kensil, Troy Vincent, Ryan Grigson, Jim Irsay, every shiv-wielding owner, all the cluck-clucking media and the legion of retired players and exiled GMs from Marshall Faulk to Joey Porter through Marty Hurney and into Bill Polian up there. Turn off light. Leave room.

When you need to piss yourself off -- in traffic, mowing the lawn, waiting for your coffee -- fetch ‘em down, blow the dust off and when you’re in a sufficiently foul mood, return grudge to shelf.

You rode the roller coaster. You’ve been there, done that and have all the T-shirts.

I came to this conclusion a few days ago, when ESPN’s Cari Champion interviewed Rob Gronkowski and asked about Goodell visiting Gillette. It was like playing “Get the Stick!” with a big goofy Lab. Champion threw the leading question, Gronk fetched -- tail-wagging --  and returned with a slobbery response that was completely implausible but still designed to dominate a four-hour news cycle.

"The fans are nuts, they’re wild, and they have the Patriots’ back no matter what,” said Gronkowski. “They have [Tom Brady’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."

Gronk’s just doing what he thinks he’s supposed to do. And Champion is, too. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Watch these mooks up in New England get all pissed off: “Hey, hey, Chowderhead . . . Roger Goodell . . . . ”

“F*** that guy, he better never show his face in Foxboro! But I want him to come to Foxboro so I can boo the ever-living s*** out of him and maybe barricade Route 1 like Gronk said we would!”

See? Works every time.

The irony is that the person mainly responsible for turning up the burner on this is Robert Kraft.

In May 2015, Kraft said at the owners meetings in San Francisco, “I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months. I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what he has given to us, and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric, and we won’t appeal.

“Now, I know that a lot of Patriots fans are going to be disappointed in that decision, but I hope they trust my judgment and know that I really feel at this point in time that taking this off the agenda, this is the best thing for the New England Patriots, our fans, and the NFL, and I hope you all can respect that.”

Well, that blew up like an ACME bomb. And -- from that moment on -- Kraft has tried to recoup the fanbase that believed he sold them out by issuing a succession of calls-to-arms that the region has dutifully responded to.

The most recent was throwing down the gauntlet to Goodell by expressly inviting him to the 2017 season opener.  I mean, it would have been a conversation point anyway, but now it’s metastasized into something that will be discussed throughout the offseason, ratcheting up in early September and hitting a crescendo on opening night.

There is appeal to seeing Goodell squirm while knowing the Maras, Rooneys and Irsays will be sipping highballs and lamenting the caddish treatment of Poor Roger. But I still like the football better.

Conversation about the historic import of SB51, the legacy of Brady and Belichick, prospects for the league in 2017? I’ll take those rather than an ESPN “personality” who spent a weekend in Newburyport at a friend’s wedding telling everyone what the mindset of the New England sports fan is.  

But that’s not what we’re going to get. There will instead be ever-escalating predictions of the terrors Goodell will be subjected to fueled by interviews with tatted-up kids from the mean streets of Marshfield who wanted “Hoodie” fired when he let Revis sign with the Jets.

Unless . . . unless the region en masse decides to let its loathing mature. Mature to the point that when the carrot gets dangled in its collective face it doesn’t leap at it with teeth bared but instead says, “No thanks. Already full.”

Yeah. I don’t think it’s gonna happen either.