With Rodgers in question, Pats prep for two QBs


With Rodgers in question, Pats prep for two QBs

By Danny Picard

FOXBORO -- It's looking more and more like Matt Flynn will be Green Bay's starting quarterback on Sunday night against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday that they weren't close to the final stage in the concussion-clearing process, which is for Rodgers to practice with the team. He said there's only a "slim" chance Rodgers could return to practice on Friday, and he will make his decision on a starter Saturday. With the uncertainty as to who will be under center for Green Bay, the Patriots are preparing for both Rodgers and his backup, Matt Flynn.

"You go into this game, and you've just got to be prepared for whoever's going to be in there," said Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich. "Just checking out their offense, seeing what they do, and being ready for whoever's out there.

"It's a little bit different, because he's not like Rodgers," added Ninkovich. "He's got the ability to throw the ball anywhere on the field, and can run. So you go look at some tape that Flynn's been in, and just see some of the things that he's done. Because he can still throw the ball pretty well. He's got a good arm, so you just have to see what kind of stuff he was doing in the preseason, and the games that he's played in."

Flynn has thrown for 182 yards with no touchdown passes, and has been picked off once so far this season. He saw over two quarters of playing time last Sunday, after Rodgers went down with his second concussion of the season, late in the first half. In those two-plus quarters, Flynn went 15-for-26 and threw for 177 yards while being intercepted once.

Long story short, he's no Rodgers.

"It's not really difficult," said Patriots safety Jarrad Page. "Of course, Rodgers is one of the better quarterbacks in this league. So you prepare for him. Their styles are not too different. Of course, Rodgers is Rodgers, and you know, Flynn is not him."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Randy Moss: Roger Goodell is 'biggest reason' for NFL's problems

Randy Moss: Roger Goodell is 'biggest reason' for NFL's problems

With the NFL facing more PR issues by the day, Randy Moss has identified what he feels is wrong with a league that can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

In wake of the Josh Brown situation, which saw the NFL blame the King County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Office for the lack of initial punishment given to the Giants kicker for domestic violence, Moss said on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown that commissioner Roger Goodell is the league’s biggest problem. 

“[This is] a bad time to show up now, breast cancer awareness month where we’re supporting the women, and then you come up with this Josh Brown, where it doesn’t seem like we are supporting women,” Moss said. “I think the NFL needs to take a deep look. I think the owners are mad, and Roger Goodell, he is the biggest reason to all of this stuff that’s fallen downhill with the NFL. I have to agree with that.”

Brown was initially given a one-game suspension for violating the league’s conduct policy stemming from his 2015 fourth-degree domestic violence charge. On Friday, the 37-year-old was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. 

Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett


Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett

PITTSBURGH – So far this season, Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski have combined for 39 catches, 644 yards and five touchdowns. Making the numbers that much more impressive is the fact the numbers were rolled up with Gronk inactive for two games and fairly useless in another thanks to his hamstring injury.

Will the Steelers slow the roll of Robellus Grennetski?

Hard to imagine. As Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, Gronk alone has tuned up the Steelers with 26 receptions for 403 yards and seven touchdowns in six meetings.

Fittipaldo explored the strategies the Steelers defense may unveil Sunday afternoon when the Patriots and Steelers get going. He also pointed out that the return of linebacker Ryan Shazier after a three week layoff and injuries for safeties Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden may put Pittsburgh at a disadvantage.

Said Shazier: “They have the tandem they want at tight end. Now they can use tight ends the way they want. You have to respect everyone on the field. Both of them are good blockers, good pass threats and great at running after the catch.”

Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Pittsburgh will alter its approaches.

“We have to be able to play more than one defense,” Butler said. “They’re very good and they’ll pick you apart if they can figure out what you’re doing. We just have to execute the defense more than anything else. If we can do that … that’s been our problem for the most part. Some of the things that went on last week, we missed some things we should have made mentally.”

What “went on last week” was a 30-15 loss to the Dolphins.

Pittsburgh hasn’t been a big-play group so far -- eight sacks and three picks -- nor have they seen a gauntlet of great quarterbacks in the first six games. 

Interestingly, their losses have been to Ryan Tannehill and rookie Carson Wentz, probably the two quarterbacks one would figure Pittsburgh would do best against.
Between a smoking hot Brady and a can’t-be-stopped tight end tandem, there’s probably not a lot Pittsburgh can do aside from hoping for an off day.

Said linebacker Arthur Moats hopefully: “You have to continue to mix it up against (Gronkowski). You can’t give him the same look over and over. He has success on guys like that. If we disrupt him, and rush Brady and speed up his clock, I definitely think that will help out.”

In theory, perhaps. In practice? We’ll see.