Quick hits entering Draft Day 2


Quick hits entering Draft Day 2

By Tom E. Curran
We've got one round of the 2011 NFL Draft in the books, we've got previously locked-out players showing up to work while another shoe still has to drop, we've got a loaded draft board, and the Patriots with a bounty of picks. Let's get after it right quick with some quick hits. 1. Wide Surprise from Pioli, DimitroffMidway through the 2001 season, I asked Bill Belichick in the Patriots locker room why he took Richard Seymour instead of David Terrell. "Who's been the best rookie receiver?" he asked me. The answer? Chris Chambers. A second-round pick by the Dolphins that year. "You can get good receivers throughout the draft," he said to me. Belichick's lived to that credo, never once taking a wideout with a first-round pick in his New England tenure. Last night, two of his former lieutenants strayed from that credo. And Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff did so in a landmark way. Dimitroff gave up everything but Mrs. Arthur Blank to get a chance at Alabama receiver Julio Jones at No. 6. The bounty? The Falcons first, second and fourth-round picks this year and their first and fourth-rounders next year. Meanwhile, Pioli grabbed 6-4, 228-pound Pitt receiver Jonathan Baldwin with the 26th overall pick in the first round. Explosiveness was the key reason in both these moves. Hopefully for both Pioli and especially Dimitroff, it doesn't blow up in their faces. 2. Waging PeaceMy frequent email buddy Jay Kelleher points out that, if the Patriots deal the 33rd pick Friday night, they could grab another second-rounder and even a first and a third in next year's draft. Think about that for a second. Even if they don't get the extra third, they'll definitely get the first based on the desperation of teams wanting to get one of the remaining QB's or a crack at the talent in the front-seven that remains. And that puts the Patriots in position to have three first-round picks in a season when the rookie wage scale enters. Quality, comfort and price. That's nice. 3.Moderate TurnoutA source told me that "three or four" Patriots showed up first thing Friday morning to work out and take advantage of the lifted lockout. More hadreported and been in the facility throughout the day. So it was short of a throng, more than a couple. 4. Turn Out the Light?Does the drafting of Nate Solder equal the end of stalwart left tackle Matt Light's tenure in New England? I don't think it has to be that way. Light is a free agent. He played well in 2010 but, at 33, who is going to make him a three-year offer? If the Patriots re-sign him to a two-year deal, he can ease Solder's transition to the NFL. This isn't to say Solder can't start right away. But why would the Patriots want to put themselves in dire need if Solder either gets hurt or is slow to grasp things? Left tackle's kind of an important spot. I'd expect Light to be retained. 5. James Carpenter?! First Round?!
In 2010, the Gronk Stomp was a highlight of draft weekend. This year, I'm liking Nick Saban's reaction to the selection of Alabama tackle James Carpenter by the Seahawks with the 25th pick.Seconds after Roger Goodell announced Carpenter,NFL Network's cameras found Saban who said, "James Carpenter went in the first round?" Ahead shake followed. Meanwhile,across the table, Mark Ingram's eyes grew wide as saucers. The great thing about Saban's reaction was that he was able to offend both Carpenter AND the Seahawks scouting, personnel and coaching staffs in one fell swoop.Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks


Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

We're into the Top 10 now.

These are the plays of the Bill Belichick Era you best never forget. And probably can't. They're the ones that led directly to championships -- most for New England, a couple for the other guys. Or they're plays that signified a sea change in the way the New England Patriots under Belichick would be behaving from there on out.

I did my best to stack them in order of importance. You got a problem with that? Good. Let us know what's too high, too low or just plain wrong. And thanks for keeping up!


THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Feb. 3, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 20, Rams 17

THE PLAY: Vinatieri 48-yarder in Superdome delivers SB36 win

WHY IT’S HERE: When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, it was viewed nationally and locally as a cathartic moment for a long-suffering region. Deliverance for a fanbase that resolutely suffered through 90 years of star-crossed heartbreak with a mix of stoicism and fatalism. “Long-suffering Red Sox fan” was a badge of honor, an identity. And New Englanders – baseball fans or not - would self-identify with the hideous notion of Red Sox Nation. There was no “Patriots Nation.” To drag out the forced metaphor, Patriots fans were living in tents and cabins in the wilderness, recluses. Reluctant to be seen in town where they’d be mocked. And suddenly, they cobbled together one of the most improbable, magical seasons in American professional sports, a year which gave birth to a dynasty which was first celebrated, now reviled but always respected. And while so many games and plays led to this 48-yarder – ones we’ve mentioned 12 times on this list – Adam Vinatieri kicking a 48-yarder right down the f****** middle to win the Super Bowl was an orgasmic moment for the recluses and pariahs that had been Patriots fans when nobody would admit to such a thing.


THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Jan. 19, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 16, Raiders 13

THE PLAY: Vinatieri from 45 through a blizzard to tie Snow Bowl

WHY IT’S HERE: Two thoughts traveling on parallel tracks were running through the mind while Adam Vinatieri trotted onto the field and lined up his 45-yarder to tie Oakland in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff Game, the final one at Foxboro Stadium. “There’s no way he can make this kick in this weather,” was the first. “The way this season’s gone, I bet he makes this kick. It can’t end here. It can’t end now.” From where I was sitting in the press box I couldn’t see the ball clearly, probably because I was looking for it on a higher trajectory than Vinatieri used. So I remember Vinatieri going through the ball, my being unable to locate it in the air and then looking for the refs under the goalposts to see their signal. And when I located them, I saw the ball scuttle past. Then I saw the officials’ arms rise. Twenty-five years earlier, the first team I ever followed passionately – the ’76 Patriots – left me in tears when they lost to the Raiders in the playoffs. Now, at 33, I was covering that team and it had gotten a measure of retribution for the 8-year-old me.