Enemy Intel: How'd the Steelers do in the draft?

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Enemy Intel: How'd the Steelers do in the draft?

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

The Patriots turned their nose up to Ohio State defensive end Cam Heyward, preferring instead to deal the 28th pick to the New Orleans Saints. Two picks later, the Steelers grabbed Heyward. But while people will see "DE" and think the Pats passed on a pass-rusher, that's not really the case. The feeling is that Heyward will be more of an anchoring 3-4 end in the NFL and his pass-rush ability is low. But the Steelers - with James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley - aren't hurting for pass rushers. They needed depth and successors for ends Brett Kiesel and Aaron Smith. And in Heyward - 6-5, 295-pounds and a treasure in terms of intangibles - they got that. Pittsburgh followed up Heyward by taking the 6-6, 330-pound tackle Marcus Gilbert from Florida in the second round. The Steelers' offensive line is a perennial question mark.Not sure if Gilbert is an answer, though. Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrockisaid Gilbert's a 25 cab ride to get around but described his temperament as that of a "chardonnay drinker." (He calls tough hombres "glass eaters"). The Steelers then went after two long, lean corners who aren't exceptionally physical but are very athletic. They took Texas' Curtis Brown in the third round then Cortez Allen from The Citadel in the fourth. They are 6-foo and 6-foot-1 respectively and are going to provide immediate special teams boosts in addition to being able to sic on bigger receivers (in theory). Chris Carter, an outside linebacker from Fresno State, seems like a great value pick in the fifth round. He was a defensive end at Fresno and is a terrific pass rusher (11 sacks, four forced fumbles) and you wonder why the Patriots didn't take a run at this kid more-so than with Heyward. He's got to make the DE to OLB conversion in the pros. The Steelers rounded it out with offensive lineman Keith Williams from Nebraska and RB Baron Batch from Texas Tech, a change-up back, in the seventh. SUMMARY: No stars, just solid. The Pittsburgh offensive line is a major shortcoming and was not really addressed unless Gilbert comes on really strongly, but the combo of Heyward, Brown, and Carter is a real winner. (Other AFC elite reviews: Colts. )
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

All three Patriots QBs will travel to preseason finale vs. Giants

All three Patriots QBs will travel to preseason finale vs. Giants

FOXBORO - While there’s no official word yet on how the playing time will be divided among the Patriots quarterbacks, all three will travel to New Jersey for the preseason finale against the Giants on Thursday night.

There has been plenty of speculation about how much playing time Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett would get, and if Brady would even travel with the team. 

Brady will begin serving his four-game Deflategate suspension on Saturday at 4 p.m. so the game provides his last opportunity to play before he returns to the Patriots before he returns for preparations for the Week 5 matchup in Cleveland on Oct. 9. 

Brady said Tuesday that he hoped to play Thursday night.

More to come….

 

Garoppolo on Kaepernick, anthem: 'To each his own, I guess'

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Garoppolo on Kaepernick, anthem: 'To each his own, I guess'

Jimmy Garoppolo joined WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show on Wednesday as the Patriots readied themselves to travel to New Jersey for their preseason finale against the Giants. During the interview, Garoppolo was asked for his thoughts on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who opted not to stand for the national anthem during a recent preseason game in order to express his political beliefs.

"It’s a touchy subject, but to each his own, I guess," Garoppolo said. "It’s not my idea of doing the right thing. But it’s his personal opinion, I guess. You’ve just got to let him stand by that. But I think we have a great thing going on in this country. Everything about America, it’s a great thing. We’re all very blessed to be here. And it’s good to realize that."

NFL teams have been required to be on the field for the anthem since 2009. Garoppolo said that he uses those moments as a time to soak in the chance he's been given to play football at the highest level.

"I can’t tell you what exactly is going through my mind, because it’s right before the game, you’ve got a lot of emotions rolling and everything," he said. "But it’s kind of one of those moments you get to sit back and really appreciate where you are and the opportunity that you have. The NFL is a tough gig to get into and a tough gig to stay in. I feel blessed to be in it. It’s a great opportunity. It’s one of those moments you get to just sit back and realize where you’re at -- then go kick some ass after that."

Belichick: Players don’t have time to be coaching each other

Belichick: Players don’t have time to be coaching each other

FOXBORO - It's been an ongoing conversation/fascination this summer. With Tom Brady's four-game suspension looming, how much knowledge, support and coaching was he going to give to Jimmy Garoppolo?

Bill Belichick was asked by Phil Perry on Thursday how much he expects from veteran players when it comes to coaching up teammates. 

The answer? Be an example, but let the coaches coach. 

"I think veteran players can be a good example for younger players in terms of their preparation, and their attitude, and their work ethic, and the way they go about things," said Belichick. "We have a lot of guys that I would put in that category that when you watch them do things they do them right and it’s easy to say to a younger player ‘Do what that guy does’, and you’d be off to a good start. 

"But you know, that being said, I think everybody on the team, really their number one focus is to get ready to play football. Our players aren’t coaches, they’re players, and they need to get ready to play, and as I said, I think every player needs to get ready to play. I don’t care how long you’ve been in the league, I don’t care what positon you play, I don’t care how long you’ve coached, I don’t care what position you coach. We haven’t done it for a long time, a number of months, and now we all need to sharpen those skills up. That’s every player, that’s every coach, so I don’t really think players have a lot of time to run around and be telling everybody else what to do."

The answer is not surprising. As much as the "Do Your Job" mantra is espoused in New England, to think Belichick or his mostly veteran staff of coaches would want players monkeying with the message is a little naive. Certainly, there are things players can impart to teammates who play the same position. Things coaches might not see from the sidelines or from upstairs. And Belichick's made a point of saying that in the past: there are things players on the field know and have experienced that the coaches may not be able to articulate as clearly. Junior Seau was a resource and touchstone for defensive teammates during his time in New England. 

But there's a difference between giving helpful pointers when they are sought or being a locker room sage and coaching. 

"Honestly, there is enough that all of them need to work on individually, and that would be every single player, that’s a full plate for them," added Belichick. "I don’t really think that’s their job, and I don’t think any player has enough time to do that because they all have things that they need to do to prepare for the season. But as far as being a good example and doing things right and all of that, I mean we have a lot of guys that fall into that category and that’s definitely a good thing. But, you know, that’s what they should be doing."

For two seasons and three offseasons, Garoppolo's had a chance to observe how Brady prepares, studies, interacts and leads. No doubt they've had countless conversations about the Patriots offensive philosophy and the throws and checks that need to be made in certain situations. But the job of actually coaching Garoppolo falls to Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. 

Any successes of failures Garoppolo has during the four weeks Brady is off campus will belong to him and his coaches. And that's how it should be.