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

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick knows that how you play, not where, is what matters most. 

That's why when he was asked on Wednesday about the advantage the Patriots will have by playing at Gillette Stadium in the AFC title game, he wasn't willing to go all-in on how a comfortable environment will positively impact his team.

"I don’t know," he said. "Go ask Dallas and Kansas City."

The Patriots apparently thought enough of home-field advantage that they played their starters throughout their regular-season finale win in Miami, exposing their best players to potential injury in order to maintain their positive momentum while simultaneously ensuring a better road to the Super Bowl. 

The Patriots fans in attendance on Sunday will help when the Patriots take on the Steelers, Belichick acknowledged. But there's much more to it than that. 

"Yeah, of course," he said, "but the game is won by the players on the field. That’s who wins football games – the players. And they’ll decide it Sunday night."

And if you needed any further proof, just ask the Cowboys and Chiefs how helpful their home crowds were in the Divisional Round. 

Tomlin not letting up on Brown after ill-advised Facebook Live video

Tomlin not letting up on Brown after ill-advised Facebook Live video

FOXBORO – Mike Tomlin didn’t sidestep questions related to Antonio Brown’s ill-advised locker room broadcast.

Instead, Tomlin actually seemed to up the ante during a conference call with New England media. Asked whether Brown seemed to get the message that Tomlin delivered and take it seriously, Tomlin said, “I think time always tells those stories.”

Tomlin easily could have used a “we’re moving on” message or talked about how Brown simply made a youthful mistake but he opted not to. Which isn’t surprising.

The number one criticism of Tomlin is that the Steelers head coach runs a loose ship and that the lack of discipline and accountability is a big issue.

Seeing Brown run a live broadcast from the locker room while Tomlin’s trying to make a point doesn’t just keep that perception afloat, it advances it to a place it’s never been.

It’s not a stretch to say that Brown’s actions imperiled Tomlin’s reputation. There’s no wonder he isn’t willing to let Brown off the hook.

Brown addressed the controversy on Wednesday saying, “I absolutely regret the Facebook Live situation. It’s a total distraction to the organization. A total distraction to my teammates. Obviously disrespect to my coach. I’ve got utmost respect to my coach so I totally regret that.”

Tomlin on Tuesday went as far as to suggest other players doing team-distracting things like Brown wind up getting passed around the league despite their great talent. “That's often why you see great players move from team to team,” said Tomlin. “Don't want that to happen to Antonio Brown.

Tomlin expressed embarrassment that the language he used in the postgame in the privacy of his locker room was served up for public consumption.

“As a parent, I’m not into public displays of that type of language so I was more embarrassed about that aspect of it not necessarily the content or the message of the video,” said Tomlin.

As to referring to the Patriots as “those a*******,” Tomlin said, “Man, you could have applied that sentiment to any opponent. You could have made that tape two weeks earlier and applied it to that opponent. It’s not about the nameless great faces that we play, it’s about our overall preparation and that was the sentiment of the message that I was sending to the guys not necessarily about the New England Patriots, they just happened to be who we’re playing this week.”

Tomlin also addressed the time element he referenced in his postgame speech when he said the Patriots had a day-and-a-half head start on his team. 

“I was just trying to instill a sense of urgency in our group regarding preparation and I wanted them to understand that we didn’t have a lot of time to pat ourselves on the back based on the performance of the last game,” he explained. “That we needed to transition and transition quickly and start the preparation, whether it was actual preparation or just from a mentality standpoint.”

Because of Brown’s decision, it’s probably been a lot harder to make that transition than Tomlin ever hoped.