Curran: Pats dodge bullet; Jets take Plax over Moss

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Curran: Pats dodge bullet; Jets take Plax over Moss

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - It's been 33 months since (almost) 34-year-old Plaxico Burress caught a pass in an NFL game. In his final season with the Giants, he caught 10 balls for 133 yards in the season opener on September 14, 2008and five balls for 81 yards in the season's second game. He never caught more than four balls in a game after that and his high for receiving yards was 58. The biggest threat he posed was not to opposing defenses but his own offense and -- as it turned out, his quadriceps. On Sunday, the Jets secured the services of the once-dangerous receiver who went to jail for two years on a gun charge after pumping his own thigh full of lead in a New York City nightclub. Plax-Mania will ensue. But that's because of who he is, what he did and the fact that our media maw craves content and this is easy content. Did the New York Jets get profoundly better with the addition of Burress, a player on the slide downward before missing two seasons? I don't know how anyone could say "yes" with any kind of certainty. Good teams with smart people -- the Giants, Jets, Steelers, Eagles and Bucs -- were all interested in Burress. But the fact he ultimately signed for one year and 3 million shows that the offers expressed a reasonable level of skepticism. Burress isn't going to be a No. 1. He isn't going to take over games. What he can do for the Jets is command attention away from Santonio Holmes, help open things up for tight end Dustin Keller and give more room to the underrated Jerricho Cotchery. In the parlance of Randy Moss, the 6-foot-5 Plaxico can help "take the top offa defense."Which brings us to Moss. He introduced that phrase to the mainstream because he is the finest practitioner of that art. Even though 2010 was a disaster and his effort and attiude went totally in the tank after he left the Patriots (and neither were great before he left), at least he's played in the past two seasons. At least there's tape of him running fast and catching touchdowns. Burress is a very good player for his era. Moss is one of the all-time greats. Moss is already 34. How motivated Burress will be to apply himself to football fully after being away from his family while in jail is something to watch. Prison changes people, their priorities and their intensities. Moss' motivation, had the Jets pursued him fully, would have been to prove he was still Randy Moss. And that's always been a strong motivation for him. Plaxico Burress may make some plays for the Jets in 2011. But Randy Moss would have made a lot more. Recent history tells us who's got a better chance of being more productive. Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Ex-Patriot Ridley signs with Colts

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Ex-Patriot Ridley signs with Colts

After being cut from the Detriot Lions last week, Stevan Ridely has signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

The running back played for the Patriots for four seasons (2011-2014), averaging 4.3 yards per carry while scoring 22 touchdowns in 52 games. He only played in six game in his final year with New England as a result of a torn ACL and MCL.

Ridley played for the AFC-East rival New York Jets in 2015 with a limited role in the nine games he played.

 

Belichick discusses risk of exposing players to waiver claims

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Belichick discusses risk of exposing players to waiver claims

Bill Belichick knows the data. Knows the risk involved in exposing a player to a waiver claim at this time of the year and long ago came to the uneasy truce that you can’t keep ‘em all and somebody else might snag ‘em.

This summer, the Patriots don’t have a mass of easy releases, especially among their rookies and first-year players.

There are a lot of very intriguing players who’ve looked good either in practices, games or both. Good enough to make the Pats think twice about whether they want to leave them exposed.

Top of mind for me there are corners Jonathan Jones and Cre’Von LeBlanc, linebacker Elandon Roberts, wide receiver DeAndre Carter, defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton and running back D.J. Foster who appear to be right on the roster bubble but are impressive.

“It’s something you take into consideration, it’s a hard thing to predict,” Belichick said when asked about weighing the risk of a released player the Patriots would like to re-sign to their practice squad getting claimed. “There’s going to be, I don’t know, certainly going to be a lot of players, probably over 1,000 players that will be exposed to waivers in the next eight calendar days or whatever it’ll be. I think the average claim is somewhere in the high 20s there…so that’s what the odds are. We’ve had years where we haven’t had any of our players claimed and we’ve had years where we’ve had multiple players claimed. I think at the end you just have to do what you think is best for your team.”

Belichick has given us terrific insight this week into how he and Nick Caserio strategize their roster decisions. When asked about the team’s releases in advance of the cutdown deadlines, Belichick mentioned the team wanted to have the ability to accommodate new players who may come available.

Enter the Barkevious.

He also got into projecting young players against established performance levels of veterans and weighing current contributions against future ones.

"That’s the $64,000 question," Belichick said on Tuesday. "That’s what it is. It’s been like that since the day I got into this league. From all of the personnel meetings I’ve ever been in it’s a [matter of] a player who’s more experienced [and] more ready to help the team now, versus a player that’s not as ready now but at some point you think the pendulum will swing in his favor. Will you do that? Can you do that? What are the consequences of making that move? What are the consequences of not making that move? How likely, as you said, is it that you could keep both players in some capacity?

"That’s what it’s about, trying to balance now with later. We’re going to field a team in November, we’re going to field a team next year, we’re going to field a team in 2018. Not that we’re getting too far ahead of ourselves, but we’re going to be in business in those years, so we have to sort of have an eye on those moving forward and a lot of the other factors that go into that. Those are all tough decisions. They’re all things that you really have to think about."

As is the risk of having a player scooped.

“It’s pretty hard to predict what’s going to happen when you put players on the wire because in all honesty, you don’t know what the other [31] teams are going to do and who they’re going to put on the wire,” Belichick explained. “Even though you put a player out there that you don’t want to lose, if another team happens to put a player out there that may be a team that needs that position and would be better with your player, your player gets claimed. Sometimes we waive players that we didn’t think would get claimed and they were, so that’s really hard to predict.

“In the end, you’ve got to make the decision that you feel like is best for your football team, and if you really want that player and you just can’t bear to live without them, then you shouldn’t be exposing them to the wire,” he concluded. “That’s the reality of it. We keep an eye on them, but I don’t think it’s an overriding factor. If you’re prepared to waive them, then you’ve got to be prepared to lose them. That’s just the way it is.”

Belichick considering using Jones as the No. 1 punt returner

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Belichick considering using Jones as the No. 1 punt returner

Back in May, when the Patriots drafted Cyrus Jones in the second round, Patriots director of player personel Nick Caserio made it very clear: Jones' ability to return punts is what made him their favorite player available at pick No. 60.

"I think the thing that tipped the scales in Cyrus’ favor a little bit," Caserio said at the time, "was his overall versatility -- punt return -- that’s a huge component of what we do and we thought he had the ability."

Jones broke out with a 60-yard return on Friday against the Panthers, flashing the kind of explosion in the kicking game that the Patriots anticipated when they made him their first selection this year. 

Though Jones has admitted he has had his share of issues securing the football during punt-return periods in practice, he has not dropped a punt in a preseason game. And in a conference call on Saturday, Bill Belichick acknowledged that Jones could be the team's primary punt returner in Week 1 even though the team employs two accomplished players who have performed that well in the past. 

"Yeah, I think that’s a consideration," Belichick said of using Jones as the No. 1 returner. "Obviously, Danny [Amendola] and Julian [Edelman] have a lot of experience returning punts for us as well as kickoffs in the past. We’ll see how it goes, but we have good depth at that position and that’s always a good thing to have.

"We have confidence in all of those guys back there. Last night we even had D.J. [Foster] who got a chance to handle the ball. We’ll see how it goes going forward, but I think we have good competition and good depth at that position."

Saving Edelman and Amendola from further wear-and-tear could help extend the careers of both 30-year-old receivers. Not long after Jones was drafted, we took a look at how many hits Edelman and/or Amendola could be saved on a weekly basis by using Jones in the kicking game.