Patriots-Dolphins notes: Eighth Pats shutout for Belichick

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Patriots-Dolphins notes: Eighth Pats shutout for Belichick

A collection of notes courtesy of the Patriots media relations staff after the Patriots 28-0 win over the Dolphins:

THE PATRIOTS HAVE EIGHTH SHUTOUT IN THE BILL BELICHICK ERA
The Patriots shut out Miami 28-0, recording their first shutout of the season and their first since downing the Tennessee Titans 59-0 on Oct. 18, 2009. The shutout is the eighth for the Patriots since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000. New England had three shutouts in 2003, one in 2005, one in 2006, in 2008 and 2009. It is the 25th shutout in team history.

PATRIOTS FINISH UNDEFEATED IN AFC EAST
With the victory over the Dolphins, the Patriots finish their slate of divisional games without a loss for the second time in team history. The Patriots were a perfect 6-0 in AFC East play in 2007. New England had just one loss in division play in 1986, 1997, 2003, 2004 and 2005, 2010 and 2011.

BRADY MOVES PAST JOHNNY UNITAS WITH THE SECOND LONGEST TOUCHDOWN STREAK
Brady has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in 48 straight regular season games after his 9-yard touchdown pass to WR Wes Welker in the first quarter to move past Johnny Unitas (47) for the second longest touchdown streak in NFL history, behind Drew Brees (54).

PATRIOTS BREAK NFL RECORD FOR MOST FIRST DOWNS IN A SEASON
The Patriots set a new NFL record for most first downs in a season after gaining 28 first downs against Miami to give them a total of 444 in 2012.
444 New England in 2012
416 New Orleans in 2011
399 New England in 2011
398 Kansas City in 2004

STEVE GREGORY SETS CAREER HIGH WITH HIS THIRD INTERCEPTION OF THE SEASON
Steve Gregory set a single-season career high when he intercepted Miami QB Ryan Tannehill in the first quarter for his third on the season. The pick helped set up a 9-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Wes Welker. Gregorys previous single season high was two interceptions in 2010 when he played for San Diego.

ROOKIE JUSTIN FRANCIS RECORDS FIRST THREE NFL SACKS
Rookie DL Justin Francis dropped Miami QB Ryan Tannehill for a 4-yard loss in the first quarter, a 1-yard loss in the third quarter and a 3-yard loss in the fourth quarter for his first three NFL sacks. Francis three sacks in a game are tied for seventh all time in franchise history with 30 others. The last three-plus sack game was Andre Carter, who had four at the Jets on November 13, 2011.

WELKER FINISHES WITH 1,354 RECEIVING YARDS
Wes Welker finished the season with 1,354 receiving yards, the fourth highest in franchise history and the second highest total of his career. He had a franchise record 1,569 in 2011.

PATRIOTS FINISH FIRST IN THE NFL WITH 557 TOTAL POINTS
The Patriots finished first in the NFL with 557 points in 2012, which is second in team history to the NFL record of 589 points set by the 2007 team and third in NFL history. The Patriots finished with an average of 34.8 points per game in 2012.

PATRIOTS TWO YARDS SHY OF TEAM MARK IN TOTAL YARDS
The Patriots finished the season with 6,846 net yards through, the second highest in team history and the fifth highest in NFL history.
MOST TOTAL NET YARDSSEASON PATRIOTS
6,848 in 2011
6,846 in 2012
6,580 in 2007
6,357 in 2009
MOST TOTAL NET YARDS NFL
7,474 New Orleans in 2011
7,075 St. Louis in 2000
6,936 Miami in 1984
6,848 Patriots in 2011
6,846 Patriots in 2012

BRADY THROWS AT LEAST ONE TD PASS IN ALL 16 GAMES FOR THIRD STRAIGHT SEASON
Since the NFL went to a 16-game season in 1978, Tom Brady is the only quarterback to have thrown for at least one touchdown pass in each game for three consecutive seasons. Since the NFL went to a 16-game season in 1978, only eight quarterbacks have thrown for at least one touchdown in each game. Brady and Peyton Manning are the only quarterbacks to do so in 2012.

BRADY MOVES PAST DREW BLEDSOE INTO 9TH PLACE ON THE ALL-TIME PASSING LIST
Brady (44,806) moved past Drew Bledsoe(44,611) into ninth place in NFL passing yards, Drew Brees is in 8th place with 45,523 passing yards entering todays games.

STEVAN RIDLEY BECOMES FIFTH PATRIOTS RUNNING BACK TO REACH 1200 YARDS
Stevan Ridley has a total of 1,263 rushing yards after gaining 74 against Miami. Ridley is the fifth Patriots player to reach 1,200 yards and his 1,263 is fourth in franchise history.
MOST YARDS RUSHINGSINGLE SEASON
Player Season Yds
Corey Dillon 2004 1,635
Curtis Martin 1995 1,487
Jim Nance 1966 1,458
Stevan Ridley 2012 1,263
Craig James 1985 1,227

Cassidy: 'Trying to set a standard' of being one of the NHL's better teams

Cassidy: 'Trying to set a standard' of being one of the NHL's better teams

BOSTON – The Bruins have won seven of eight games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy and are fortifying their position as the third playoff team in the Atlantic Division with each passing victory.

The 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes at TD Garden on Tuesday night probably shouldn’t be all impressive based on the Yotes standing as the second-worst team in the NHL, but it was a classic trap game coming off a long West Coast road trip. Instead of falling for the trap the Bruins exploded for three goals in the second period, energized by a shorthanded Riley Nash strike, and continue to extend the winning stretch they need in order to punch their playoff ticket.

The postseason clincher is still a long way away from reality, but Cassidy said the B’s are starting to achieve the elevated level of play they’re aiming for while finally getting the full potential out of their team.

“I just want the guys to make sure that they play confident, solid hockey and believe in themselves. And play to a [higher] standard,” said Cassidy. “We’re trying to set a standard where we’re one of the better teams in the National Hockey League. They’ve been there before, the leadership group here. That’s where we’re striving to get through in the end.”

They haven’t exactly shied away from the competition either, twice beating the first-place San Jose Sharks and shutting out the first place Montreal Canadiens in the final straw that saw Michel Therrien axed in favor of Claude Julien.

The B’s have now opened up a three-point cushion over the Maple Leafs for their playoff spot and they’ve averaged 4.13 goals per game (33 goals in eight games) while allowing just 2.13 goals per game (17 goals in eight games) in the eight games going from Julien to Cassidy. 

The challenge now is to maintain that level of play over the final 19 games of the regular season to drive home their playoff bid and finish strong at a point where in each of the past two seasons they’ve utterly imploded.


 

Curran: Hard to believe Garoppolo's completely untouchable

Curran: Hard to believe Garoppolo's completely untouchable

Months ago, I was told by someone who’d know that it wasn’t a done deal the Patriots would trade Jimmy Garoppolo.

This was after Garoppolo got hurt and Tom Brady was in the midst of his didn’t-miss-a-beat return. At the time, it made all the sense in the world for the team to start listening to overtures. 

And it still does. 

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Despite having it reiterated to me recently that people shouldn’t “expect” Garoppolo to be dealt (and plenty of national media reporting the same thing), I’ve maintained that -- while it may not be likely -- that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. 

A recitation of the reasons why:

-- First, Garoppolo is a backup behind the best quarterback in NFL history who also happens to be one of its most durable. Regardless if he’s pushing 40, even compared to quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton, Brady is a less prone to injury. So the likelihood the team will need to summon Garoppolo to sub for Brady either because of performance or injury is tiny. 

-- Second, value. What good does it have to be in possession of a good player if he never plays? Brady is signed through 2019. The Patriots can control Garoppolo through 2018 if they franchise him, but they’ll have to spend close to $25 million on a one-year deal to do that. And what’s the plan there, spend $25 million to have him watch Brady play at a level Garoppolo still probably won’t be able to approach? When it comes to draft picks, Bill Belichick is like an old guy with a metal detector at the beach. He’ll pocket anything he can find. But he’s not going to flip Garoppolo into possible first-round currency and -- after almost two decades of saving for the future -- just sit on a tradeable asset that may never play?

-- Third, Jacoby Brissett’s ability to play is a helluva lot better demonstrated than Matt Cassel’s, Ryan Mallett’s, Brian Hoyer's and Matt Guttierez's. All those players were the lone backups to Brady at different junctures. The belief the Patriots don’t trust Brissett to back up Brady and need more security is inconsistent with what they’ve done in the past. Further, they seemingly groomed Brissett to be the backup in 2016 in little ways -- bringing him back from IR, taking him on the road when he was on IR. 

Finally, does this actually mean that Garoppolo is somehow the player without a price? Completely untouchable in a way Richard Seymour, Logan Mankins, Jamie Collins and whoever else we want to dredge up as a trade example were? 

So where’s this leave us? 

One of three possibilities. 1) The Patriots do indeed have an asking price and are driving up the market. 2) The Patriots are going to franchise and trade Garoppolo next year. 3) Or they are going to trade Brady before the 2018 season and give the job to Garoppolo. 

If the ultimate plan has even crystallized, it’s not going to be shared. Not now. So instead we need to look for bread crumbs to lead us to the team’s mindset. 

Perhaps the best insight Belichick gave into his approach was in November of 2009 in an interview with Jason Cole. The interview came a couple of months after the Seymour deal. in which the Patriots grabbed a 2011 first-rounder for the former All-Pro. 

“We gave up a significant player and we gained a significant asset,” Belichick told Cole. “There’s a balance of this year and years in the future. Do we consider that? Yes, but in the end you look at the level of compensation and you do it. Had it been for another level of compensation, would we do it? Maybe not. I don’t know. There’s a point where you say yes and a point where you say no and there’s a real fine line in the middle where it really depends on how bad you want to make the trade. It’s like anything else, if you really want to do it, you might take less. If you don’t, it probably would take more.” 

The link is dead so here I lean on Mike Florio of PFT, who aggregated the Cole interview from Yahoo!:

Belichick also said that “probably everybody is available at the right price,” but when Cole pressed him about whether he’d really trade Tom Brady, Belichick acknowledged that he’s building a team around a certain core group of players -- and he wouldn’t trade those guys. As an example of a player he wouldn’t trade, Belichick named linebacker Jerod Mayo, last year’s first-round draft pick.

“Now, is Jerod Mayo available? No, not really,” Belichick said. “But there are certain players who are young that have a certain number of years left on their contract that you want on your team, so you’re really not going to trade them. Those guys are realistically not available, no. But is everybody else available for a certain price on every team? I would say, for the most part, they probably are. Who’s willing to give that? What you want and what someone else is willing to give, that’s usually very different. In this case, it worked.”

Bearing that in mind, and understanding the amount of desperation around the league to find the right quarterback, I still believe there’s a price for Garoppolo. But unless someone pays it, we’ll never know what it is.