Scott says Jets D needs to 'funnel' Pats offense


Scott says Jets D needs to 'funnel' Pats offense

By Tom E. Curran

FOXBORO - I believe this is No. 757 on the list of things that would not occur in New England. Monday, during an interview with Michael Kay on ESPN Radio in New York, Rex Ryan was asked an interesting question. Kay related an off-air conversation with Jets linebacker after the Patriots' 45-3 win over New York in Week 13. Said Kay: "Bart Scott told me off the air, we know exactly what we did wrong and if we ever play them again we're gonna win because we know what we did wrong. Weshould have been funneling them toward the middle of the field and we weren't doing that. Is that something you guys have to do?" In response, Ryan said, "Yeah, weknow what we did wrong and give them credit - they executed their plan well.Youscorethree points against New England, you'renever gonna beat them."More important than the response, ummm, what about the question?So Bart Scott's flapping his gums and telling guys off-air what the problem was and what needs fixing? And then not only is Michael Kay relating it, but he's sharing said (presumably) off-the-recordor on background conversation with Rex Ryan. And Ryan's solid with that? It's apparent he is because he went ahead and answered it. So what exactly do the Patriots do with this intel? And how, exactly, do the Jets funnel an offense to the middle?For the Patriots, they ran the ball 236 times between left and right guard in 2010. They threw 149 total passes to the middle of the field. They are in the middle of the field a fair amount. If this means setting the edge and funneling players back to the middle of the field in the running game - as the Patriots do in their 3-4 - well, that's nice. But again, they're in there most of the game. We'll try and find out later in the week as we go along just what the funneling means (aside from what I used to do in college). But it still strikes me dumb that it was even out there, broached and discussed with a straight face. Guess that makes me a kool-aid consumer.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Titans roll to 36-22 victory over Jaguars


THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Titans roll to 36-22 victory over Jaguars

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - There's nothing like a visit from the Jacksonville Jaguars to make the Tennessee Titans remember how to protect their home field.

Marcus Mariota threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns to end his home struggles and the Titans had their highest point total of the season in a 36-22 victory over the Jaguars on Thursday night.

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Develin stays on top of tight end techniques in case he's next man up


Develin stays on top of tight end techniques in case he's next man up

FOXBORO -- Once the Patriots traded AJ Derby to the Broncos for a fifth-round pick earlier this week, they were left with just two tight ends on their roster. While those two tight ends -- Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett -- have played as two of the best tight ends in football this season, it's a position group that has been considerably thinned. 

Until coach Bill Belichick adds another player at that spot, James Develin would be the logical "next man up." A position group unto himself as the team's lone active fullback -- the other fullback in the locker room is practice-squad player Glenn Gronkowski -- Develin meets with Patriots tight ends and coach Brian Daboll on a daily basis because the fullback and tight-end responsibilities in the Patriots offense are similar, particularly in the run game.

As much time as he spends with that group, Develin tries to absorb what he can when it comes to the nuances of the position. 

"I always kind of try to prepare, obviously, for my fullback role, but then in any other role that I might be called upon for," Develin said on Thursday. "A couple years ago, we had a bunch of injuries during the offseason program, during OTAs, and I filled in a little bit at tight end. I try to keep myself familiar with all those techniques and that tight end role so if the day were to come where I needed to go out there and do it, I'd be able to go out there and do it."

When the Patriots began the season relying more on the run, Develin was called upon to play a relatively significant role in the offense. He averaged 21.3 snaps per game through the first three games of the season, but that number has fallen to 13.6 since Tom Brady's return from a four-game suspension. Still, his role can be a critical one. 

The Patriots' running game faltered last season after both Blount and Dion Lewis went down with season-ending injuries. Having Develin in the mix as an extra blocker would not have guaranteed a more efficient attack, but it may have helped the team's running-game woes late in the year. 

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels now has the luxury of bringing Develin onto the field when he wants some added muscle for his blocking schemes, and should the Patriots need a tight end in a pinch, Develin could do that too.

"A lot of times, especially in the blocking game, really the only difference [between fullback and tight end] is that I'm five yards off the ball in the backfield and they're up on the line," Develin said. "The angles are a little bit different. But a lot of times the assignment is typcially the same thing. It's just the technique of getting there and the angles that you take.

"Then in the passing game, as a tight end, there's just a lot more routes and stuff like that. I try to work on that to help me as a fullback to be a little bit better in space . . . It's a sybiotic relationship." 

As it is, Develin will line up occasionally outside. Though not a threat as a receiver in that spot in the same way that Gronkowski or Bennett would be, he understands some of the different looks tight ends have to be comfortable with.

If an emergency arose and he was asked to fill that role, he wouldn't hesitate.

"There's a little bit of carry-over depending on what we're doing or whatever play we have called where I'll line up on the line," he said. "But that's kind of what a fullback has to do. You kind of have to be able to be thrown into whatever position on the field that you gotta do and you gotta just do your job."