Brady has nothing but options at wide receiver


Brady has nothing but options at wide receiver

By Rich Levine
Standing Room Only

Theres no No. 1 receiver.

But thats how Brady likes it, right? Isnt he at his best when, as they say (and by they I mean everyone), his favorite receiver is the open receiver?

Personally, I thought he was pretty great the year he had a bonafide No. 1, set an NFL record for touchdowns, won 18 straight games and came within three or four fluke plays of winning the Super Bowl, BUT yeah, hes also pretty damn good when a No. 1 receiver isnt in the cards and for the second straight season, its not.

Welkers still the security blanket, and no one would be surprised if he grabs another 100 balls. The closer the Pats get to the goal line, the role of binky will shift to Rob Gronkowski whos in line for another double digit touchdown season (and thanks to the arrival of his brother, another 15 or so locker room rat tails). At this point, Aaron Hernandez is essentially a receiver a transition thats only enhanced by his adoption of Randy Moss old No. 81. (Oh man, what are they going to do when Randy comes back!?) Deion Branch will still be Deion Branch, for better (sure hands, clutch plays) or worse (injuries!). Julian Edelman will get one more chance to prove hes the next coming of Wes Welker before we resign to the fact that hes actually the next Tim Dwight (comparison only works with white guys, right?).

Can Taylor Price step in andor emerge as a deep threat? Is special teams captain Matt Slater only worthy of targets in the preseason? And what about Tiquan Underwoods Kid n' Play high top?! (OK, I know he was cut, but just wanted to talk about the hair one more time.) Those are all questions were asking right now, but since the start of this abbreviated training camp, the biggest questionstory at receiver has been, and will continue to be Chad Ochocinco.

Anyone who tries to tell you they know whats about to happen with Ocho is lying. No ones in his head. (Man, I just want five minutes in there.) And no ones sure of exactly how much he has left in the tank. Some say that hes been slow to pick up the offense, but with the amount of time Ocho spends studying, I have a hard time believing that will continue to be a problem and it still doesnt explain the drops.
At the end of the day (OK, preseason) the one thing we know, is that theres no No. 1.

With some QBs that might be a problem, but with Brady its an advantage.

Randy Moss: Roger Goodell is 'biggest reason' for NFL's problems

Randy Moss: Roger Goodell is 'biggest reason' for NFL's problems

With the NFL facing more PR issues by the day, Randy Moss has identified what he feels is wrong with a league that can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

In wake of the Josh Brown situation, which saw the NFL blame the King County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Office for the lack of initial punishment given to the Giants kicker for domestic violence, Moss said on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown that commissioner Roger Goodell is the league’s biggest problem. 

“[This is] a bad time to show up now, breast cancer awareness month where we’re supporting the women, and then you come up with this Josh Brown, where it doesn’t seem like we are supporting women,” Moss said. “I think the NFL needs to take a deep look. I think the owners are mad, and Roger Goodell, he is the biggest reason to all of this stuff that’s fallen downhill with the NFL. I have to agree with that.”

Brown was initially given a one-game suspension for violating the league’s conduct policy stemming from his 2015 fourth-degree domestic violence charge. On Friday, the 37-year-old was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. 

Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett


Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett

PITTSBURGH – So far this season, Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski have combined for 39 catches, 644 yards and five touchdowns. Making the numbers that much more impressive is the fact the numbers were rolled up with Gronk inactive for two games and fairly useless in another thanks to his hamstring injury.

Will the Steelers slow the roll of Robellus Grennetski?

Hard to imagine. As Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, Gronk alone has tuned up the Steelers with 26 receptions for 403 yards and seven touchdowns in six meetings.

Fittipaldo explored the strategies the Steelers defense may unveil Sunday afternoon when the Patriots and Steelers get going. He also pointed out that the return of linebacker Ryan Shazier after a three week layoff and injuries for safeties Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden may put Pittsburgh at a disadvantage.

Said Shazier: “They have the tandem they want at tight end. Now they can use tight ends the way they want. You have to respect everyone on the field. Both of them are good blockers, good pass threats and great at running after the catch.”

Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Pittsburgh will alter its approaches.

“We have to be able to play more than one defense,” Butler said. “They’re very good and they’ll pick you apart if they can figure out what you’re doing. We just have to execute the defense more than anything else. If we can do that … that’s been our problem for the most part. Some of the things that went on last week, we missed some things we should have made mentally.”

What “went on last week” was a 30-15 loss to the Dolphins.

Pittsburgh hasn’t been a big-play group so far -- eight sacks and three picks -- nor have they seen a gauntlet of great quarterbacks in the first six games. 

Interestingly, their losses have been to Ryan Tannehill and rookie Carson Wentz, probably the two quarterbacks one would figure Pittsburgh would do best against.
Between a smoking hot Brady and a can’t-be-stopped tight end tandem, there’s probably not a lot Pittsburgh can do aside from hoping for an off day.

Said linebacker Arthur Moats hopefully: “You have to continue to mix it up against (Gronkowski). You can’t give him the same look over and over. He has success on guys like that. If we disrupt him, and rush Brady and speed up his clock, I definitely think that will help out.”

In theory, perhaps. In practice? We’ll see.