6 Quick Hits to start your NFL work stoppage

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6 Quick Hits to start your NFL work stoppage

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com
Welcome to the NFL Lockout, Day 1. Also known as...Saturday.1. THE OWNERS LOST MEWhen this issue was a speck on the horizon, I understood the owners' collective point. I believed they were right. The salary cap had risen from 84.5 million in 2006 before the CBA was extended to 130 million in 2009 under the new rules. With the cap shooting up like that, I understood the owners' interest in getting back to the table to tweak an agreement they hurried into back in 2006. I was OK with themopting out of the deal in the spring of 2008 - as both sides knew was very likely when the deal was signed -and I was more OK withthem backing outwhen the economy tanked in historic fashion in the fall of 2008. But they lost me in the last month. First, the truly rotten and unethical move to negotiate a TV deal that would pay them during the lockout and allow them to pocket 421 million they didn't have to share with the players if a lockout occurred. Then their evasiveness on exactly why they don't want to open their books. At the Super Bowl Robert Kraft offered up the dubious excuse that he didn't want to have his expenses shared because he didn't want someone telling him he's not paying enough to a marketing guy. Right. The half-assed participation by NFL owners in the negotiating process - deftly detailed by our Quick Slants buddy Mike Silver from Yahoo! - and their insistence on spin over substance has been stomach turning. As Drew Brees asked on Twitter Friday, "Would you trust them?" As a collective group? With their assortment of viper lawyers and mouthpieces and their talents for obfuscation? No.
2. CHECK THE NUMBERSI talked to Pete Kendall on Friday night and expect to talk to him a few more times as this lockout process goes on. The former Jet, Seahawk and Redskin (BC alum and Weymouth native, also)was there every step of the way during negotiations. Three weeks away from his family in Marshfield. That fact alone makes the NFL's claim that the NFLPA intended all along to decertify laughable.A guy like Kendall isn't going to be anyone's prop and he certainly wasn't in DC to make it seemlike he wanted to get it resolved when he knew the intention was decertification. Anyway, after the owners started flapping their arms Friday night about the deal the players walked away from, Kendall said, basically, read the fine print. The owners wanted to roll back the cap to 2007 levels. The Herald's Ian Rapoport posted this image of the NFL's proposal on Twitter. It was provided by NFLPA head De Smith. You'll see the 2011 cap was proposed to be 114 million. And while the paper says the cap in 2009 was 123 million, reports had it closer to 130 million. To get a gauge of how the owners operate, look at the benefits. In 2010, they dropped benefit payments to 15.6 million from 26.1 in 2009. And, with no cap, you can be sure their cap spending was way down as well. In other words, they saved a crapload in salary and benefits in 2010 relative to what they would have spent. And, as it stands now, they save more. 3. LEAVE JAPAN OUT OF ITI cringed every time I heard someone covering or involved with the labor staredown invoke the Japan earthquakeon Friday. Whether it was De Smith's obsequious mention of it as he entered Friday's negotiations or tsk-tsks about that tragedy putting the fight over billions into the proper perspective. Spare the maudlin tripe. It shouldn'ttake an 8.9 earthquake and a tsunami to remind everyone that this labor crapstrom pales in comparison to actual life. Professional football to the owners, the players and the people who cover it is merely a means to an end - and that end should be having the financial wherewithal to live a good and productive life. 4. GLOVES OFF WITH HEATH EVANSBoth the owners and players have been bristling for months about the "millionaires vs. billionaires" line. But efforts to paint themselves as not nearly as affluent as we perceive are a little tiring. On Friday, former Patriot and current Saint Heath Evans - a guy I get along with - went the "Most of us aren't millionaires" route. I disagreed. The gloves came off Twitter style for the next few hours. Then we patched things up. Which is good. If the Patriots re-sign him, I didn't want to have to tear a phone book in half or something and leave him a quivering puddle of terrified fullback in the corner of the locker room. 5. BRADY'S LATEST LEGACYForever more, the legal case the players are bringing against the NFL will be known as "Brady, et al vs. NFL, et al." Whether the future Hall of Fame quarterback ever strides into a courtroom and looks across as Patriots' owner Robert Kraft remains to be seen, but when this case is referred to - and depending how it goes, it may be referenced a lot - the Patriots' quarterback will be forever out front on it. 6. TICKET CRUNCHGot this email today. Hi Tom, I've got the Pats season ticket invoice in with the rest of my bills. Approximately 4700 due on 331. What are the chances of me paying that? ZERO! I'm not going to line Bob and Jonathan's pockets, so they can collect interest during labor strife.
Thanks,Kevin F.I think we're gonna be getting a lot of that. Tom E. Curran canbe reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Will Dobson finally change the storyline this year?

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Will Dobson finally change the storyline this year?

FOXBORO - Aaron Dobson is like the tide. Hitting a predictable high-water mark around the same time every season then gradually receding to a predictable low.

At least that’s how it’s seemingly gone for the first three seasons of the wideout’s NFL career. In truth, it’s not really been as bleak as we’ve all intimated it to be.

There have been bright spots for the 2013 second-rounder and there is upside to his game. But the combination of injuries, inconsistencies and annual drops into obscurity have obscured the very notion that anything he does between May and August should be taken seriously.

Saturday, Dobson was back at it again with the summertime fun making two terrific early-practice grabs on the first day in pads. That was a continuation of what he put out there in May and June when he looked nothing like the guy who pattycaked so many passes in 2015.

When the team’s key skill players broke off to a separate field midway through practice it was Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett and Dobson working out.

Dobson knows the party line on him. He basically summarized what folks feel has been lacking with his game.

“I’m just trying to keep improving and stay consistent and show my teammates that I can stay consistent and dependable,” Dobson told me Friday.

We’ve done the Dobson Propaganda “This may be the year…” piece before. Like last summer when Josh McDaniels gushed about Dobson and we dutifully talked him up. It wasn’t without cause. The guy does things nobody else on the roster at the wideout position can do because of his height and leaping ability.

I asked Dobson if he’s yet shown the best of what he can do.

“I feel like I can play football,” he said. “It’s up to me to show my abilities to everybody. It’s hard to really say. For me, I’m just trying to get out and get better every day, every day, every practice.”

He couldn’t have envisioned this, though. Fourth season and still with some nitwit standing in front of him talking about his football mortality in New England.  

“Going through what I’ve gone through has been difficult but you just have to stay grounded,” he said. “You can’t let it hold you back, you can’t let it keep you down, you can’t worry about the past, you just gotta worry about the future and what I can do to help myself.”

There are things beyond Dobson’s control that have intervened. A stress fracture in his foot in 2013 that bled over into 2014 when surgery was deleted then performed in the spring.

But there are things which seem preventable too that keep arising. Like the number of times Dobson is unable to catch the ball cleanly and double-catches the ball.

I asked him about that.

“You gotta let the ball in,” he said. “Regardless. When it comes to double-catching, you just gotta make the catch, when it comes to you.”

You hear the things he’s said before – all said with a self-deprecating smile. No ego. You see the things he can do in the air. And you think…this year?

Then you watch that drill with Brady and Garoppolo, Bennett and Gronkowski. And throw after throw, when Dobson could either catch the ball out front with his hands or let it come into his chest or cradle it into his stomach, he chooses the latter. The less safe, less polished, easier way to catch.

And you know the coda to this Dobson story like the ones in the past comes with the caveat, “we’ll see…”

Tom E. Curran can be followed on Twitter: @tomecurran

Camp Observations: Brissett, Cyrus Jones, Butler

Camp Observations: Brissett, Cyrus Jones, Butler

Giardi, Curran, and Perry talk about today's camp observations including Jacoby Brissett throwing many passes away, Cyrus Jones potential, and Malcolm Butler's physicality.