Green-Ellis, Woodhead are good enough for Pats

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Green-Ellis, Woodhead are good enough for Pats

By Rich Levine
Standing Room Only

In New England, everyone is the next someone.

Julian Edelmans the next Wes Welker. Devin McCourtys the next Ty Law. Is Ras-I Dowling the next Eugene Wilson? Hank Poteat was, and always will be, the next Hank Poteat.

But for my money (which, if you look at my pay stubs, isnt much) theres only one Patriot player comparison thats truly come to fruition.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis is Antowain Smith.

Check this out:

Last year, the Law Firm carried the ball 229 times for 1008 yards and 13 TD. In 2001, Smith carried the ball 287 times, for 1157 yards and 12 TD. Receptions? Smith had 19; BJGE had 12. Both have the same style, the same strengths, the same limitations. Neither will make you drop your jaw, but neither will drop the ball (BJGE still hasnt fumbled in 329 career rush attempts). Smith was, and Green-Ellis is the definition of solid. No flash, just solid.

Back in the day, Smith was complimented by Kevin Faulk the dynamic, do-everything back who kept the defense on their toes. Green-Ellis? Well, that brings us to another potential comparison.

Because its hard to look at Danny Woodhead and not envision him as the next Kevin Faulk.

I hesitate to do so, because it feels so disrespectful to all that Faulks accomplished (I felt the same way about the instant EdelmanWelker comparison), but the numbers dont lie. Or if they do, they dont lie that much.

Last year, Woodhead had 926 yards from scrimmage, a total that Faulk has only topped three times in his career and once since 2003 (he had 993 yards in 2008 with Matt Cassel as his QB). Of course, thats not all there is to the game. Theres the blocking factor. The leadership factor. The clutch factor. There are all sorts of heights (no pun intended) and measures of consistency that Woodhead must achieve before we can count on him the same way we did Kevin Faulk.

So how about this: For now, lets take Kevin Faulk out of it.

And lets just say that Danny Woodhead, regardless of who preceded him in his current role, is a fantastic compliment for Benjarvus Green-Ellis who in turn, is a more than serviceable lead back. Given the weapons around them, theyre more than enough to help the Pats to another title.

Will Stevan Ridley step in and contribute? Will Shane Vereen overcome the quiet preseason and save his rookie campaign? Are we worried that they dont have a fullback?

Those answers will play out along with the season, but for now, you should be ready and willing to go to war with Woodhead and the Law Firm.

Easley on character concerns: 'It's all rumors' until sources step forward

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Easley on character concerns: 'It's all rumors' until sources step forward

When Dominique Easley was released by the Patriots this spring, it wasn't because he wasn't productive when he was on the field. In fact, on a per-snap basis, he was one of the most productive interior pass-rushers in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Instead, there were some off-the-field factors, as well as injury concerns, that led to the Patriots choosing to cut ties with their 2014 first-round pick. 

As our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran put it, there were "philosophical differences" between Easley and the team.

Other, more scathing reports of Easley's impact in New England were released, including one report from the Boston Globe that included a quote from a former teammate saying he was a "locker room cancer."

Since then, Easley has landed with the Rams and has a chance to contribute to one of the most talented defensive lines in football. In an interview on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Phil Savage and Amber Theoharis, Easley said he hopes that his new team will get to see that he's a better person than some have indicated.

"Just really," Easley said, "just hopefully that the Rams get to see what a great person and a great hardworker I am, and really, just a great person."

Easley went on to say that he's not sure who would speak of him negatively or why. He explained that it's not his "main goal" to prove there's nothing to worry about with his character, but clearly it's somewhere on the list. 

"There's been, obviously, stuff said about me," Easley said. "We don't know where it came from. I would say the person doesn't want to come out and say it, neither. As far as I know, it's all rumors until that person comes out and say that it was from them, and they can prove that they actually know who I am, or been around me long enough to know who I am and how I am as a person."

PFT: NFL plans to interview Manning about Al Jazeera PED allegations

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PFT: NFL plans to interview Manning about Al Jazeera PED allegations

Peyton Manning is retired, but that doesn't mean he's exempt from the interviews that the NFL plans to conduct as it looks into the allegations made by Al Jazeera's December PED documentary. 

It was reported last week by USA Today that the league's senior vice president of labor policy and league affairs Adolpho Birch informed the NFLPA that players named in Al Jazeera's report would be interviewed in July. 

Among those scheduled to be interviewed are Packers linebackers Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews and Steelers linebacker James Harrison. Former Packers linebacker Mike Neal will also be interviewed.

(Harrison has taken issue with the league's request, and said on social media that he would only meet with the league if commissioner Roger Goodell showed up to his home.)

Manning was not mentioned in the letter obtained by USA Today detailing the league's interview plans, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk followed up on Monday to see if the NFL intended to speak with Manning. It does.

The former Broncos and Colts quarterback has been very vocal about just how strongly he denies Al Jazeera's claim that his wife, Ashley, received HGH for his use. Despite the fact that he's no longer playing, it will come as no surprise if, given his stance, Manning cooperates fully with the league as it seeks more information regarding the report. 

As Florio points out, if Manning hopes to return to the NFL at some point as an executive -- as many believe he will -- this is something he'll want to put to bed beforehand. That process will start with an interview.