Ex-Pat on ex-Pat crime: Evans hammers Daboll


Ex-Pat on ex-Pat crime: Evans hammers Daboll

By Tom E. Curran

Heath Evans was on the Patriots for two of the seven years that Brian Daboll was on the New England coaching staff. It appears Daboll didn't wow Evans with his mental prowess during that period.
Evans,now a running back with the Saints, wasinterviewed on ESPN 760, a Miami radio station. He laceratedthe Dolphins for hiring Daboll as their offensive coordinator(we spotted the item on ProFootballTalk.com). The Dolphins probably just got worse, Evans said in an opening salvo to remember. When he was in New England, he was never a guy that I would have considered the brains of the operation.Evans lobbed a couple of caveats - that Daboll likely learned some when he was quarterbacks coach with the Jets and had Brett Favre and Chad Pennington as his charges in 2007 and 2008, and that he probably learned some more working with Mike Holmgren this season in Cleveland when Daboll was OC - but that opening broadside is hard to overlook. Daboll was wide receivers coach for the Pats during the time he and Evans overlapped. Originally hired as a low-level coach on the recommendation of Nick Saban, Daboll has had a nice rise in the NFL. I remember asking Bill Belichick in 2001 before the Patriots went to the Super Bowl who was doing the low-level grunt work on that team and he gushed about Daboll. But the fashion in which Eric Mangini left the Patriots, reputedly taking with him any player or coach that wasn't nailed down, no doubt has marked Daboll who left for New Jersey with Mangini as an enemy of the state in Foxboro. Evans,who remains close with many Patriots despite signing with New Orleans after 2008, may have that coloring his judgment. As soon as I saw it, I second-guessed the decision, Evans said. A franchise that is really just struggling for success, why do you take an unproven commodity? I second-guess it. I dont know.Good luck to him, Evans said. He was always nice to me good dude.Yeah, right. Daboll hasn't taken a shot like that since this one delivered by Joe Thomas back in November. Coincidentally, Daboll's Browns offense ran all over the Patriots that day.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl


Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl

NFL Siberia can’t be all that bad. The Cleveland Browns have signed Jamie Collins to an extension that keeps him off the free agent market.

The former Patriot, stunningly shipped out of town on Halloween, has agreed to a reported four-year, $50 million deal with $26M in guaranteed money.

As eyebrow-raising as the move was at the time, this is an all’s well that ends well story.

Collins, a reluctant Patriot once it came clear the team wouldn’t to aim a confetti cannon of money at him, gets the desired big-dough deal. He didn’t drape himself in glory with his level of play this year in New England, but his agitation over making $900K this year was understandable.

The Patriots -- who made the deal not knowing exactly how it would work out with Collins’ fleet of replacements (primarily rookie Elandon Roberts and, October acquisition Kyle Van Noy) -- have played better defense since Collins has been gone and are headed to the Super Bowl.

Would they have been better if Collins stayed? The answer to that is a question: Which version of Collins, the irked one or the motivated one?

Collins did nothing to veil his desire for a huge contract, saying at the end of the season he’d stay with the hapless Browns if the money was right. Now that he’s decided the money was right, what kind of Collins will the Browns get? With $26M guaranteed, the Browns have tethered themselves to the 27-year-old Collins for a chunk of his prime. The shorter term is ideal for Collins because -- if he performs to his capability -- he’ll be able to see another lucrative deal before he’s too aged.

The deal will certainly be noticed by Collins’ former teammates, primarily Donta Hightower who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

The Patriots could franchise Hightower (last year’s tag number was more than $14M) but that’s not going to be ideal for either side. Hightower will want to get the windfall of guaranteed money that comes with a long-term deal and the Patriots may be reluctant to pay that much to a player that’s got an injury history and plays one of the game’s most violent positions.

A lot’s going to happen between now and the time the Patriots have to make their decision. A good deal of it will happen in the next 12 days. If Hightower stealthily saves the Super Bowl as he did in 2014 with his first-down tackle on Marshawn Lynch … how do you put a price on that?

Andy Dalton named Tom Brady's Pro Bowl replacement

Andy Dalton named Tom Brady's Pro Bowl replacement

With Tom Brady spending this week and next preparing for the Super Bowl, Andy Dalton has been named his replacement in the Pro Bowl. 

This will mark Dalton’s third Pro Bowl appearance. He finished fourth in the AFC in passing yards (4,206) and tied for 10th with 18 passing touchdowns. Brady threw 10 more touchdowns in four fewer games. 

Though he’s often skipped the actual games, this was the 12th season in which Brady was named to the AFC’s Pro Bowl roster. He’s been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the last eight seasons.