Looking for a reason to re-live the Patriots' last win of the season? Go ahead. Sweep those memories of the Super Bowl under the rug, and take a trip back in time to the AFC Championship Game with the guys at Pro Football Focus.
They've put together a Top-10 of the best 3-4 defensive end performances of last season, and Vince Wilfork is featured near the top of the list for his other-worldly performance in the AFC title game against the Ravens.
According to PFF, it was the third-most dominant performance of the season by a 3-4 defensive end last season. Here's what they had to say about Wilfork's game that day:
Anyone who watched the Patriots squeak out a victory to get to the Super Bowl will have seen Vince Wilfork at his absolute best. It wasnt just the sack and five hurries, or the three defensive stops in the run game that got Wilfork such a high rating, it was how he did it: dominating Michael Oher and Marshal Yanda like few others have. The Ravens offensive line hadnt faced anything like that for quite some time.
NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock quarterbacked a marathon conference call with reporters from around the country on Monday, and his perspective on this year's crop of draftable signal-callers makes Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo seem like the top option for a quarterback-needy team.
Garoppolo might interest the 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."
More to come . . .
As the Patriots so often like to do, they promoted from within to fill an open coaching position on Monday.
The team announced that they've named Nick Caley as their tight ends coach, filling the vacancy left behind when Brian Daboll accepted the offensive coordinator position at the University of Alabama last week.
Caley was a coaching assistant with the Patriots for the past two seasons after spending a decade in the college ranks at John Carroll (2005-06), Akron (2006-07), Auburn (2008), Iowa State (2009-11), Eastern Illinois (2012), Arkansas (2013) and Florida Atlantic (2014).
Caley is one of several John Carroll products -- including director of player personnel Nick Caserio, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Shuplinski -- working for the Patriots at the moment. He graduated from the Jesuit university situated just outside of Cleveland in 2006.