Curran's 48 lines on 24 issues after Detroit beating

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Curran's 48 lines on 24 issues after Detroit beating

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots InsiderFollow @tomecurran
DETROIT -- Waiting in the Detroit airport for a flight that will bring me to Washington D.C. Wondering if I'll get to Providence before the kids start school. Let's see how this little idea works. There were plenty of things to weigh in on. So let's do 'em all. Two lines each. 1. Sebastian Vollmer's never looked worse than he did Saturday night. The right tackle set a personal high for flailing misses and lost leverage. 2. A power outage at Gillette Stadium pre-empted Bill Belichick's "Uhhhh-a-thon" Sunday afternoon (aka his day after conference call). Seconds of awkward silence would have outnumbered words uttered anyway. 3. Dan Connolly left the locker room Saturday night with a compression wrap on his lower right leg. It was black. 4. Bad as Vollmer was, once Rich Ohrnberger came in to replace Connolly at right guard, it somehow got worse. He looked like a 4-year-old watching traffic pass while Lions blasted through him. 5. I don't care that Logan Mankins does dirty nasty stuff before the whistle that leads to stuff after the whistle. Good teams need players who play at the edge and sometimes go over it. 6. Same goes for Ndamukong Suh. He can be as dirty as he wants to be as far as I'm concerned in this emasculated NFL. 7. I'll need to get a look at the tape, but it seemed like Matt Light held up well at left tackle. The relative slenderness of Nate Solder was used against him during the bull rush that resulted in Tom Brady's pick as he got driven and discarded. 8. Aaron Hernandez is a remarkable weapon. Two or three times a game, he gets in an utter mismatch with room to run and just does stuff I don't think I've ever seen a tight end do for the Patriots. 9. Gronk need touches. Gronk need touches. 10. I'm all set with Brandon Tate. He's got no return imagination and he's not going to be better than Taylor Price or Julian Edelman. 11. When Edelman has the ball in his hands, positive things happen. Bill O'Brien has to make that happen. 12. To put it plainly, Chad Ochocinco's sucked this preseason.Yet because theguy has works his ass off, shows up every single day ready togo and is as disappointed in himself as everyone who wanted an Ocho explosion on arrival, I'm cutting him slack. 13. When Kevin Faulk was the Patriots' full-time third-down back he was so often the one guy who could shift momentum with a something-out-of-nothing play. Danny Woodhead has the same knack. 14. Even as the Patriots were befuddled up front in the first quarter and Tom Brady was under attack, they still managed to convert four consecutive third downs. That speaks to the number of weapons and diversity of the offense. 15. Deion Branch has quietly gone catchless so far this preseason. I think that's redundant. 16. After a breakout first game against the Jaguars second and third-teamers, it was important for Taylor Price to follow that performance up against starters. He was unable to get in the groove Saturday night either. 17. Unless things radically change, Will Yeatman - aptly described by the Globe's Shalise Manza-Young as looking like an investment banker - is going to make the club as an undrafted free agent at tight end. Lee Smith, a fifth-rounder from Marshall, may find himself released with the Patriots hoping they can get him through to their practice squad. 18. Gerard Warren needs to make this football team. He's HaynesworthEllis insurance, plays extremely hard and is a locker room Yoda. 19. The number of defensive miscommunications on Saturday night was disturbing. The amount of on-field finger-pointing and gesturing after the miscommunications was unseemly.20. Mike Reiss at ESPNBoston.com always does an outstanding job charting personnel all game long. He points out that the three players on four different special teams units Saturday night were Tracy White, James Ihedigbo and Sammy Morris, all on the kickoff and punt coverage and return teams. 21. Edelman left in the second half to get checked out by trainers. Not sure what the issue was but he said he was fine in the hallway after the game. 22. Somehow, someway Darius Butler finds a way to get beaten in a prominent fashion every game. Saturday night it was on a fourth-down, fourth-quarter touchdown pass. 23. Devin McCourty had passes completed on him Saturday night that were uncommon. For the most part, his coverage was there and the throws by Matthew Stafford or the catch by Calvin Johnson beat the coverage. 24. Center Andre Gurode appears to be on the outs in Dallas. Couldn't you just see Belichick signing him?Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Steelers descending into disarray?

Steelers descending into disarray?

Less than 48 hours removed from openly wondering if the AFC Championship Game stage was “too big” for some of his young teammates, Ben Roethlisberger has decided to play the latter-day Hamlet/Brett Favre game.

Speaking on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan on Tuesday, Roethlisberger hinted at retirement.

“I’m going to take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options,” Roethlisberger said. “To consider health, and family and things like that and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season, if there’s going to be a next season. All those things. I think at this point in my career, at my age, that’s the prudent and smart thing to do every year.”

The soon-to-be-35-year-old Roethlisberger is a likely Hall of Famer who’s still arguably one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL. But for whatever reason, he’s got an insatiable need for people to register concern about his status. Whether it be limping around the field, lamenting injuries or this, few quarterbacks in the league go through the same histrionics Roethlisberger does in order to get those, “Attaboy, Ben!” backslaps.

I remember being at Steelers training camp in 2009 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and having veteran Steelers writers roll their eyes as Roethlisberger started hopping around like he was on hot coals after a throw. The quarterback having an owie act was a daily tradition.

Roethlisberger’s also got a passive aggressive side in which he’ll deftly twist the knife on coaches and teammates but leave himself enough room for plausible deniability.

In addition to openly wondering if his young teammates took the AFC Championship Game seriously enough, Roethlisberger gave the “just running the plays as I’m told” answer when asked about the Steelers resistance to running a quarterback sneak when they were at the Patriots goal line before halftime. Roethlisberger could have taken offensive coordinator Todd Haley off the hook there – he’s lobbied for Haley to get a head coaching shot after the two had a bad relationship when Haley arrived. But he opted not to.

Similarly, earlier this year, Roethlisberger’s critiques of the way head coach Mike Tomlin was running the team were aired. 

So, this could be part of a Roethlisberger power play aimed at the Steelers bowing to his wishes.

That wasn’t the only tidbit from Pittsburgh that looked bad for the AFC finalists. Linebacker Bud Dupree said the Steelers were surprised by the Patriots using an up-tempo offense earlier in the game. 

Do they not have electricity or internet access in the Steelers facility? Up-tempo is a staple part of the Patriots offensive diet. You can see it on the television or the internet through your smart phone.

While there’s no doubt that defensive coordinator Keith Butler – and defensive minded head coach Tomlin – were aware and talked about the Patriots going no-huddle, the fact Dupree (and his teammates) were unable to recall the preparation or adequately fall into an emergency plan to address it does fall on the coaches.

Need more? It’s also being leaked out of the building that Antonio Brown cares too much about his statistics. He made clear last week how much he cares about advancing his personal brand at the expense of Tomlin and the team with his Facebook Live video. 

If there’s an upside for anyone in all this, it would have to be Joey Porter. Nobody’s even talking about his off-field fracas anymore.

As this season ably demonstrated, the Patriots have plum run out of authentic rivals in the AFC. That the team they just pulverized is steamrolling into an offseason of dysfunction and uncertainty isn't good if you like parity. But it's terrific if you couldn't care less.