Could Colon wind up on Patriots' radar?


Could Colon wind up on Patriots' radar?

By Tom E. Curran

INDIANAPOLIS - Before Maurkice Pouncey rolled into Pittsburgh, the Steelers' most consistent offensive lineman was right tackle Willie Colon. A fourth-round pick in 2006, Colon is going to be a free agent when the 2011 class hits the market. And his agent, Joe Linta, has told Pittsburgh media that he doesn't expect the 28-year-old to be in the Steelers' future plans. (Wink-nod to PFT for finding it first.)According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Colon has "little chance of returning to the Steelers."Colon, who'll be 28 when next season begins (presumably), suffered an Achilles tear in June 2010 and missed the season. At 6-3, 315, Colon's a terrific run blocker and an underrated pass blocker. There's been steady debate about whether he should be moved to guard because of his size but the Steelers never did it. In the case of the Patriots, Colon would give them a ton of flexibility. They could put him at right tackle, kick Sebastian Vollmer to left tackle and not re-sign Matt Light. They could have Colon as Stephen Neal insurance at right tackle or just outright replace Neal with Colon since Neal can't make it through a season anymore because of injury.Linta is a highly respected agentwhen it comes to offensive linemen and the Patriots have gone to him often in the past decadeto provide capable players.Of course, Scott Pioli and Thomas Dimitroff also have the Linta link, so there may be asizable market if the Steelers do indeed pass on re-signing him. When doing your Willie Colon (pronounced "cologne," not like the anatomical "colon")research, remember, it's not this Willie Colon. It's this one.UPDATEAfter kicking over a few more rocks, the likelihood of Colon coming to New England probably hinges quite a bit on the Logan Mankins situation, a source told me. The Patriots are loathe to have to big-ticket offensive linemen on their roster and Colon is hoping to have a ticket that is at least medium-sized. Still, the sense of it on paper means it bears watching.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Belichick on Long's sack: One of the best defensive plays of the year

Belichick on Long's sack: One of the best defensive plays of the year

It came against a rookie quarterback. It came against an offense that averages a league-worst 15.0 points per game. It came against an offense that has fewer yards than any other. 

Still there are signs that Bill Belichick is pretty pleased with where his defense is after beating the Rams 26-10 on Sunday. One came on Wednesday when published its "Belichick Breakdown" for a closer look at a handful of plays from the team's most recent win.

Belichick called his team's third-and-eight stop with about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter "probably one of the best good, team defensive plays we've had all year."

The Patriots show a five-man front, but linebacker Kyle Van Noy feigns a rush only to drop into coverage.

"Van Noy in here does a good job on the rush," Belichick said, "and also on the coverage on the back. Just good team defense. Good pass coverage down the field. The quarterback really doesn't end up having a lot of time, but there's no one to throw it to right away."

Belichick noted that all four rushers -- Chris Long, Trey Flowers, Dont'a Hightower and Rob Ninkovich -- all are able to pressure Jared Goff on the play. Combined with strong coverage in the secondary, the Rams nver really had a chance.

Belichick said it looked like a "tidal wave" of defenders bearing down on the quarterback.

"Long wins here . . . on the inside spin," Belichick said, "and Trey Flowers and Hightower both win on the little twist game inside. Then that's Rob with good speed-to-power on [Rams tackle Rob] Havenstein on the outside. Four good rushers. Plus a fifth guy...Van Noy getting that two-for-one on the guard and the back.

"Good team defense. That's great to see. A lot of hard work an execution on the practice field to make that happen."

Harbaugh on Belichick: 'I feel like we have a good relationship'

Harbaugh on Belichick: 'I feel like we have a good relationship'

FOXBORO -- They sounded like a couple of old pals. 

First it was Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who spoke of Ravens coach John Harbaugh during a conference call like one of his favorite fellow lacrosse dads.

"John and I saw a game a couple of years ago, a [Johns] Hopkins vs. Maryland game," Belichick said, adding that Harbaugh's love for the sport is just starting to blossom. "Yeah, I think John is seeing the light."

Belichick added that the two might be closer if they weren't competing so often, both in-season on the field and for free agents in the offseason. 

"As you know, we get into a situation like we’re in now where they have a good team, we have a good team, we’re playing a big game on Monday night," Belichick said. "Both teams are going to do everything they can to compete as hard as they can on Monday night. That’s what it is and that’s what we all signed up for. We all know that’s a part of it.

"When we’re not going head-to-head, which isn’t very often because we compete against each other in the offseason, we compete against each other to build our team and so forth, it just puts things in a little bit of a different situation."

During his press conference with reporters on Wednesday, Harbaugh echoed Belichick's sentiments. Belichick was famously one of Harbaugh's biggest supporters earlier in his career, calling the Ravens on Harbaugh's behalf when the franchise was looking for a new head coach. And if only they weren't so frequently competing against each other, they might be even closer, Harbaugh indicated. 

"I feel like we have a good relationship," Harbaugh said. "Like you said, we're probably not socializing that much, but I don't know how many coaches really do. We're all so busy. I'll see him or any coach at the Combine or at the owner's meetings, and we have a chance to talk. It's always good. I have a ton of respect for him. I really like him as a person. I think he's a great coach -- greatest coach of this generation. He's earned that title.

"And I study him. I've always studied him. I've always studied coach Belichick from when I first met him when I was an assistant at the University of Cincinnati, and he came in and just was great to be around.  [We have a] similar background with the special teams and that sort of thing. All of that kind of goes out the window when you compete against one another. It's like anything else, you want to win. I'm sure he feels the same way."

The recent history between their respective franchises is rife with emotion: There was Baltimore's irate reaction to Belichick's unusual formations in the AFC Divisional Round two seasons ago; there was the Ravens' supposed involvement in sparking Deflategate; and there was Harbaugh's subsequent denial. But Belichick and Harbaugh made it sound on Wednesday as if all's good between them.