O'Brien talks of 'professional' relationship with Brady


O'Brien talks of 'professional' relationship with Brady

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - Bill O'Brien doesn't know anything about the house under construction in Cali, how things went in Rio or why Tom Brady shaves his armpits. The relationship between O'Brien, the Patriots' offensive coordinator, and the future Hall of Fame quarterback is about the business of football. Asked Saturday afternoon how the two men get on, O'Brien said, "I'm going into my fifth year here. It's a good relationship. It's a professional relationship. It's a relationship (where) there's a lot of communication. It's all football. We talk all the time. I think there's a lot of trust and -- again -- you're talking about a guy that works really hard, it's important to him. (He's) a prideful guy so there's just a bunch of trust there and good communication and I think it's been a good relationship."It has. After a somewhat rocky 2009 when O'Brien was in his first year as OC after Josh McDaniels left and Brady was coming back from a blown left knee, 2010 was brilliant for both guys. The Patriots led the NFL in scoring and Brady was the league's first unanimous MVP. O'Brien pulled the levers on an offense that incorporated three new tight ends (two of them rookies), two undrafted running backs and a returning wideout (Deion Branch) that took over for another future Hall of Famer (Randy Moss). O'Brien didn't hold the OC title though. He was just the "de facto." Now he gets to put it on his business card if he wants. But he doesn't want. "We have a really strong staff as a whole that works very well together," said O'Brien in explaining that the title really means nothing. "We're all in it together, we each have different roles. I'm the guy that collects the paper and puts it in the right stack. It's a collaborative effort."With this compressed camp and another new wide receiver -- Chad Ochocinco -- to roll into the offense, O'Brien's got a plateful. Fortunately for the Patriots, their new OC (same as the old OC) has shown he can get it all covered.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones


Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

PHOENIX - The Arizona Cardinals, in an anticipated move, have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the player.

The non-exclusive tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15. If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks.

It's unlikely that any team would express interest in Jones, however, given what it would cost.

Under the franchise tag, Jones would receive about $15 million for the coming season.

Acquired in a trade with New England a year ago, Jones had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss last season

Jones has 25 1-2 sacks over the past two seasons, third-most in the NFL over that span.

The Cardinals' move came two days before the NFL deadline for making franchise designations.

It also came on Jones' 27th birthday, prompting teammate David Johnson to tweet "Happy BDay to `The Man,' `Mr. Franchise' himself.....The one and only."

The franchise tag move came as no surprise.

Club President Michael Bidwill has stated all along that Jones would not be going anywhere, that the team didn't make the trade - sending guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft pick to New England - to keep him just for one season.

"We're not going to mess around with that," Bidwill said in a recent interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "He's a great pass rusher, but if we can't agree to terms that work for us, we're just going to franchise him, and his people know that."

Jones immediately upgraded what had been an average Cardinals pass rush at best. His fellow outside linebacker Markus Golden had 12 1-2 sacks and seven tackles for loss. Together they form one of the better outside pass rush combinations in the NFL.

By all accounts, the contract talks with Jones have been cordial and Jones has said he wants to stay in Arizona.

"I love it here," he said near the end of last season. "I love the vibe that the people give off and I can see myself being here for a long time."

Chandler heads a long list of free agents that the Cardinals must either re-sign or let go. That group includes starters defensive tackle Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson and inside linebacker Kevin Minter.

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock quarterbacked a marathon conference call with reporters from around the country on Monday in order to shed some light on the prospects who will compete at the combine later this week. One thing that stood out? He's not ready to crown anyone in this year's crop of draftable signal-callers.

As a result of the dearth of pro-ready talent at quarterback, Mayock recognized Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo as perhaps the top target for any quarterback-needy team. Garoppolo might interest the Cleveland Browns in particular, Mayock noted, because of the number of picks they have near the top of the draft.

"In my opinion," Mayock said, "if I'm the Cleveland Browns and I've got No. 1 and No. 12, if I came away with either [defensive end Myles] Garrett or [defensive tackle] Jonathan Allen at No. 1, and gave up the 12th pick in the draft to get Garoppolo? I would be stoked.

"I would feel like I had a difference-maker on defense and we had a quarterback on offense. Now let's get to work. We got five in the first 65 picks. Let's get to work. From my perspective, especially looking at the quarterbacks this year, if they gave up No. 12 and could get Garoppolo, I'd be all over that."