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Tag:Wes Welker
Posted on: October 9, 2011 10:37 am
Edited on: October 9, 2011 3:05 pm
 

Mangold in; Jets dealing with WR mutiny on OC

Posted by Will Brinson

UPDATE (2:30 p.m. ET): The Jets issued a statement specifically denying the "mutiny" report mentioned below. This only gets spicier if the Jets can't beat the Patriots Sunday.

"The New York Jets deny a report this morning that wide receivers Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes and Derrick Mason have gone to Head Coach Rex Ryan individually in the past few weeks to question offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s system," the Jets said in a statement.

-----
Things aren't going the way you'd expect them to for the New York Jets -- two-straight losses, and the team's been unable to move the ball or rush the passer. So, it's probably really exciting for Jets fans that there's a semi-mutiny taking place with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

Reportedly anyway -- Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News cited sources on Sunday that said all three of Santonio Holmes, Derrick Mason and Plaxico Burress "have individually gone to Rex Ryan in the past few weeks to question" Schottenheimer's system.

This is a bit odd, because the Jets have thrown the ball 62 percent of the time to start the season, a rarity for a Rex Ryan-run team. And they're not necessarily in the bottom of any statistical passing categories, ranking somewhere in the middle for passing attempts, passing yards and yards per game.

Whatever, counting stats might not matter here. As Mehta notes, the combines statistics of the three-best wideouts for the Jets (above, natch) add up to 35 catches for 432 yards, which is less than the 40 catches and 616 yards that the Patriots Wes Welker has recorded this season by himself.



Then there's the matter of third-down conversion and success early in drives -- the rushing "attack" is anemic this season, and the Jets are converting just 34.5 percent of their third downs.

"Underwhelming," a source told Mehta.

The Jets will need to be more than just "underwhelming" on offense Sunday if they expect to compete against their arch-rival Patriots.

New England leads the league in total offense (second in points, first in yards per game for what it's worth) and are apparently getting some free chalkboard material from New York cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who foolishly feels the need to taunt reigning MVP Tom Brady.

Good news for the Jets offense, though: Nick Mangold will start this week after missing just two games with a high ankle sprain, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network.

That's huge for Mark Sanchez and Co., who struggled mightily with Mangold out last week against the Ravens. With Vince Wilfork prepared to wreck havoc on the defensive line, Mangold returning to the lineup is crucial.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 6, 2011 11:17 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 11:18 pm
 

Podcast: Ray Rice and Week 5 NFL preview

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Week 5 of NFL action is coming up and we've got a pretty, pretty spicy matchup between the Steelers and Titans being featured on the mothership. If only we had a superstar NFL running back who's played against both teams to help us break it down.

Oh right, we do! Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens, who's working with Sheets Energy Strips, swings by to chat about the Steelers vs. Titans matchup (he's faced both teams through the first four weeks of the season; Baltimore beat Pittsburgh in Week 1 and lost to Tennessee in Week 2), where he stands in terms of the running backs in the NFL, who the best defensive player on Baltimore is, what he thinks of Hines Ward's DUI, whether he's due for a new contract, why Joe Flacco continues to struggle in games and much, much more.

"I think the Ravens are going to do the right thing … with the contract situation, I'll leave it in their hands," Rice said.
We also break down the rest of the week, wondering whether Rex Grossman or Hue Jackson has the more insane guarantee, if Wes Welker is the best wide receiver in the NFL and how he'll fare against Darrelle Revis, whether Cam Newton will go over or under on 370 yards passing this week, and whether we'd want Ryan Fitzpatrick or Matt Ryan as our quarterback if we had one game to play

All that and much, much more -- just hit the play button below to listen (and did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?). If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 27, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 3:36 pm
 

Eye on Football NFL Awards: Week 3

Posted by Will Brinson


Every week, our NFL experts will hand out the Eye on Football hardware to the best of the best from the NFL week that was.

Week 3 NFL Awards
Expert Offense Defense STeams Coach
Freeman Fitzpatrick Colts  Knox  Gailey
Judge  McFadden Bills DBs  Bailey  Gailey
Prisco   Romo  Allen  Bailey  Coughlin
Brinson  McFadden  Freeney  Bailey  Gailey
Katzowitz   T. Smith  Freeney  Bailey  Schwartz
Wilson   Welker  Freeney  Bailey  Jackson
Week 3's over and everything in the NFL is clear, apparent and obvious. Like, for instance, that the Lions and Bills are really good. I mean, who didn't see that coming, right? Anyway, it's award time for us.

Offensively speaking, there were plenty of performances that inspired us this week, but Darren McFadden of the Raiders and his 171 yards against the Jets warranted enough consideration to sneak out the award. (And with good reason.)

It was a losing defensive effort that picked up the hardware this week, as Dwight Freeney's efforts inspired enough voters to cast something similar to his name in the ballot and pick up the award. What does it say about the state of defense in the NFL, by the way, that we had three voters cast for either multiple players or an "entity"?

Dan Bailey ran away with the Eye on Special Teams for the second week in a row after his six (six!) field goals against the Redskins gave the Cowboys a victory on Monday night. You can only make the kicks your team gives you and Bailey did just that.

As far as the Eye on Coaching award goes, well, Chan Gailey wins ... again! What kind of world are we living in, huh?

Leave your votes in the comments below or scream angrily at us on Twitter @EyeOnNFL.

Eye on Offense Award
Mike Freeman Clark Judge
Ryan Fitzpatrick Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills
He deserves to win every award ever invented. Offensive award, defensive, Nobel, a Pulitzer and throw in an Emmy. It is true the Bills intercepted Tom Brady four times, a rarity, like when all of the planets in the solar system are aligned. It's clearly Fitzpatrick, despite Buffalo's defense prowess, who is driving this team and did so against New England. They'd lost 15 straight games to the Pats. Fitzpatrick's accuracy, skill and guts powered the Bills in what was the best performance -- period -- of the week.
Darren McFaddenDarren McFadden, RB, Raiders
If this guy stays healthy, the Raiders stay at or near the top of the AFC West. He seems to run at a faster speed than everyone else, and last weekend the New York Jets were that everyone. It takes a lot to impress Jets' coach Rex Ryan, and he seemed overwhelmed by Oakland's running game -- with McFadden the first one through the door with 171 yards, two TDs and an average of 9 yards a carry. We always knew he could be special; what we didn't know ... and still don't ... is if he can stay on the field.
Pete Prisco Will Brinson
Tony Romo Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys
I know his numbers weren't great, but did he ever tough it out against the Redskins. He played with a broken rib and punctured lung and made some tough throws. He took some shots, but kept on going. Not only that, he was playing with a bunch of backups.  Still doubt this guy?
Darren McFaddenDarren McFadden, RB, Raiders
If there was any question about Run DMC leading the league in rushing, he answered it Sunday, by rolling over the Jets with 171 yards on just 19 carries. He's piling up yards at a terrifyingly efficient clip (6.4 YPC) and deserves to be in the discussion as the best back in the NFL.
Josh Katzowitz Ryan Wilson
Torrey SmithTorrey Smith, WR, Ravens
The Ravens were looking to get off to a fast start vs. the Rams. And behind the play of rookie Smith, who had yet to record a single statistic in a game before Sunday, that’s exactly what they did. Smith caught three touchdowns in the first quarter, and overall, he had five catches for 152 yards to help get the Ravens offense back on track.
Wes Welker Wes Welker, WR, Patriots
It's rarely the case that a Patriots wide receiver has 16 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns and New England still loses. But when Tom Brady throws four interceptions and Chad Ochocinco drops what should've been a touchdown pass, that's exactly what happens. The lesson? No lead is too large for the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills to overcome.
Eye on Defense Award
Freeman Judge
Dwight FreeneyIndianapolis Colts, DST
I'll avoid more Bills slurping and go an unusual route--the Colts.I know. Very weird. Yet in a game which the Colts truly had no chance to win due to the absence of Peyton Manning that Indianapolis defense played brilliantly minus a play or two. They stripped a sloppy Ben Roethlisberger twice and picked him off. They were the only reason Indianapolis was in the game late.
Drayton Florence Buffalo Bills Secondary
The Bills' secondary had three of the team's four interceptions vs. Tom Brady and fueled the team's comeback from a 21-0 hole. Incredible. Nobody spots Brady 21 points and wins. Only Buffalo just did, ending a 15-game losing streak. Drayton Florence's go-ahead TD was the big blow, but defensive backs George Wilson and Leodis McKelvin had crucial interceptions, too. Do you believe in miracles? Brady had four interceptions all of last season; he had four on Sunday.
Prisco Brinson
Jared AllenJared Allen, DE, Vikings
I know his team didn't win, but he was a force all day. He had three sacks and was spent the game in the Lions backfield. He also made some nice plays against the run.
Dwight FreeneyDwight Freeney, DE, Colts
Don't tell Freeney that the Colts only upside to this season is nabbing Stanford's Andrew Luck -- in a game that the Colts weren't supposed to even be in by the fourth quarter, he dominated up front and gave Indy a shot at its first win of the year with two sacks, a forced fumble and total disruption.
Katzowitz Wilson
Dwight Freeney Dwight Freeney, DE, Colts
Freeney dominated the Steelers offensive line, recording two sacks, two tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and a forced fumble. He almost single-handedly kept Indianapolis in the game and forced the Steelers to kick a last-second field goal for the win. Too bad Freeney can't play quarterback.
Dwight Freeney Dwight Freeney & Robert Mathis, DE, Colts
They spent Sunday night meeting on Ben Roethlisberger, combining for three sacks and two fumbles that resulted in 10 Indianapolis points. You could make a case that Freeney and Mathis are just as deserving of offensive honors, too.
Eye on Special Teams Award
Freeman Judge
Johnny KnoxJohnny Knox, WR, Bears
I know, I know. The spectacular return didn't count because of a phantom hold. A really phantom hold. Such a phantom hold it insults the word phantom. But the fake-out kick return by the Bears was such delicious subterfuge and Knox was king actor selling the fake completely. It was a wonderfully designed play that worked. Did I mention the phantom holding call? One other thing: I think Knox could be one of the top three special teams players in football if he got more opportunities.
Dan Bailey Dan Bailey, K, Cowboys
He did the only scoring in the Cowboys' come-from-behind defeat of Washington Monday night, with a 40-yard field goal to win the game. Bailey wasn't the story of that game; Tony Romo was. Not sure how he gutted his way through another victory, but it wouldn't have been possible if Bailey weren't there to punctuate the drives that Romo began.
Prisco Brinson
Dan BaileyDan Bailey, K, Cowboys
He made six field goals, including the game-winner late in the fourth quarter, to tie a rookie record. Well done.
Dan BaileyDan Bailey, K, Cowboys
The last place you want to kick as a rookie is in Dallas, where there's been a revolving door of kickers for a while now. But Bailey doesn't care and he gets my nod again this week as his leg carried the Cowboys to a crucial victory when they clammed up in the red zone.
Katzowitz Wilson
Dan Bailey Dan Bailey, K, Cowboys
With Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo getting very little help from his wide receivers and his offensive line, Bailey provided all of Dallas’ points in its win against the Redskins and set an NFL rookie record with six field goals in a single game. Bailey is now 9 of 10 on the season.
Dan Bailey Dan Bailey, K, Cowboys
For the second time in as many weeks, the Cowboys rookie kicker earns the nod. He was 6 for 6 on field-goal attempts against the Redskins and accounted for all of Dallas' points.
Eye on Coaching Award
Freeman Judge
Bill BelichickChan Gailey, Bills
He ended a brutal losing streak to New England but Gailey has done more than that in Buffalo. He's made the Bills relevant and the Bills haven't been relevant since the invention of barbecue wings.Buffalo hasn't had a winning record since 2004 and the last time the Bills made the playoffs was the late 1990s. Gailey isn't a great coach but he's solid. If he can steer the Bills into the playoffs he will have done one of the great coaching jobs of the past decade and making the postseason begins with their win over the Patriots.
Mike Munchak Chan Gailey, Bills
He wins in a photo-finish with the Lions' Jim Schwartz, and for this reason: Somehow, some way, he convinced his players that they weren't dead meat after falling behind by 21 points to Tom Brady and the big, bad New England Patriots. They'd lost 15 straight to these guys, for crying out loud, so there was every reason to quit. But they didn't. Now the question: Are these guys for real? I don't care. I just care that Gailey accomplished what no one in Buffalo has been to accomplish in years.
Prisco Brinson
Tom CoughlinTom Coughlin, Giants
When his team looks to be down, facing a lot of adversity, Coughlin always gets them to respond. They went into Philadelphia as 9-point underdogs and dominated the Eagles. That's why Coughlin is a top-tier coach.
Mike MunchakChan Gailey, Bills
We joked after Week 1 that Gailey deserved the award since it was his only shot of winning. Um, whoops? Gailey's masterful coaching job with the Bills has them undefeated and if the first two weeks weren't convincing enough, a 21-point comeback against the Patriots certainly should be.
Katzowitz Wilson
Jim Schwartz Jim Schwartz, Lions
What can you say about the Lions’ resiliency after falling behind by 20 points at halftime to the Vikings only to force overtime and win? Whatever it is, Schwartz’s coaching -- the adjustments the staff made and the fact it settled down the players -- can't go overlooked.
Hue Jackson Hue Jackson, Raiders
The Raiders first-year coach out-Rex Ryan'd Rex Ryan Sunday, forcing critical turnovers and relying on well-timed gadget plays to outlast the Jets.



Posted on: September 21, 2011 2:16 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 3:23 pm
 

Film Room: Bills vs. Patriots preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



We’ll find out this Sunday just how "for real" the Bills are. It’s one thing to face unfamiliar foes from the iffy AFC West. It’s another to face the perennial bully of your own division. Before we forecast the matchup, let’s use the first four points to understand what these 2-0 teams are all about.

1. Patriots passing attack
The last time New England’s juggernaut offense was hitting on this many cylinders was 2007, when the rest of the NFL had no answer for Randy Moss over the top and Wes Welker underneath. New England runs a much different offense now than in those Josh McDaniels days.

Under McDaniels the Patriots in 2008 went 11-5 with Matt Cassel filling in for the injured Tom Brady. The system still worked because of the unique combination of Moss and Welker. If the Patriots were to lose Brady in their current system, they’d plummet to the middle of the AFC East. Virtually everything New England does is predicated on Brady’s unbelievable ability to diagnose a defense and set his feet before throwing.

Most NFL passing offenses are built on the quarterback anticipating where the receiver is going. The Patriots’ offense is essentially built on Brady seeing where the receiver is going before firing. The reason for this is New England’s heavy use of option routes.

The patterns that Patriot receivers, as well as their sensational young tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez (who will miss this game with a knee injury), run often hinge on what the defense does. It’s up to the receiver to correctly assess the coverage – both presnap and on the fly – and choose his route accordingly. This is the premise of an option route.

Because of this, the Patriots don’t look for size and speed at wide receiver; they look for intelligence and precise route running. That’s why Wes Welker and Deion Branch, two classic role players, are stars here. They’re perfect for this system.

Option routes are designed to specifically exploit the weakness of a coverage. The reason other teams don’t run option routes nearly exclusively is because they take a split second longer to unfold, and other teams don’t have a quarterback who can make accurate throws a split second later in the down. Brady happens to have an unmatched ability to square his body and throw soundly with defenders around him.

It’s incredible – the guy has a quick, picturesque release, and you almost never see him throw off-balance. Even other superstars like Rodgers and Brees can’t quickly square up and fire under duress the way Brady can.


2. Buffalo’s quarterback
Since last season, the Bills have been higher on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick than any other team in football. There are rumors that the front office is looking to quickly sign the 28-year-old Harvard alum to a long-term deal before his market value skyrockets.

But how good is Fitzpatrick, really? Most of his supporters tout his grit. Praising a quarterback’s grit is like praising a girl’s personality. Even if the praise is justified and honest, it still feels backhanded because it implies the absence of more obvious (important?) physical attributes.

While Fitzpatrick is no Chad Pennington, he doesn’t have the world’s strongest arm. He can scramble and buy time with his feet, but he’s no Aaron Rodgers. And he reads a defense OK (he was phenomenal recognizing Oakland’s blitzes last week), but he’s no Peyton Manning. Most concerning is his occasionally erratic accuracy. Every game, poor accuracy costs him a few quality completions. And because he’s such a risk-taker, there’s an increased possibility that his inaccuracy translates to interceptions.

Don’t take this as “Fitzpatrick hating”. We only harp on his negatives because, these days, so many are highlighting his positives.

3. Chan Gailey’s adjustment
Even in the shortened offseason, the Buffalo Bills managed to drastically alter their offensive playbook. Prior to the season, we heard that Chan Gailey (who runs the offense) and Curtis Modkins (who coordinates the offense) would implement more spread formations. A lot of teams talk abot spreading out and being more aggressive, but the Bills have actually done it.

This is somewhat surprising because the Bills, especially after dumping Lee Evans, don’t seem to have the receiving personnel for this. None of their wideouts other than Roscoe Parrish – who is out for the season with an ankle injury – have great speed. And all of them are young.

However, through two games, Buffalo’s spread approach has worked marvelously. Stevie Johnson’s improvement as a route runner (he gets open late in his patterns extremely well) has compensated for his middling speed and made him a veritable No. 1 target. David Nelson, who’s a lanky 6’5” and has a newfound comfort for hauling in passes, has been a matchup nightmare both inside and out.

Donald Jones offers decent quickness off the line of scrimmage, and Fred Jackson or C.J. Spiller (who, by the way, are both running with outstanding fluidity, especially on the perimeter) are capable of flanking out, which gives the Bills formation flexibility in their personnel packages.

Tip your cap to the historically power-run oriented Gailey for recognizing the direction that the NFL is going in and, at age 59, adjusting his philosophy accordingly.

4. The defenses: 4-3 or 3-4?
Both teams have run hybrid 3-4-slash-4-3 defense in recent years, not because they have versatile players or schemes but because they’ve been without a quality pass-rusher and have looked for creative (i.e. desperate) ways to manufacture pressure on the quarterback.

As it stands, neither team still has a quality rusher. Knee injuries have robbed Shawne Merriman of his burst and direction-changing ability. Merriman still has decent power, but without the movement prowess, he’s a shell of his former self. Opposite him, Chris Kelsay, though playing faster than usual this season, is not consistently dynamic. In New England, Bill Belichick is hoping elder newcomers like Shaun Ellis and Andre Carter can skim the edges on third down.

Despite feeble pass-rushing resources, both teams’ 3-4/4-3 ambiguity appears to be gone this season. Both made personnel moves that suggest a commitment to one system. The Bills spent the No. 3 overall draft pick on Marcel Dareus, a classic 3-4 end. So far, Dareus has shown intriguing power in shedding blocks, both laterally and in penetration. The Patriots traded for Albert Haynesworth, a classic one-gap tackle (just ask him) and have settled into a 4-3.

So far, Haynesworth has been a monster, but only in sub-packages. He must improve his endurance if he wants to be an everydown player like Vince Wilfork.

5. The Bills’ prayer
Do they have one this Sunday? They won’t be able to get pressure on Brady, so their best bet is to play coverage and hope for a timely turnover or two. That will be tough, though, as No. 1 corner Terrence McGee is out and his replacement, Leodis McKelvin, has struggled in man coverage.

Also, strong safety George Wilson, while stout in the box, is a slow runner with limited coverage skills. The Raiders took advantage of this with screen passes and underneath passing routes last week; the Patriots, with Gronkowski and Danny Woodhead, will have no trouble doing the same.

Thus, it’s on the Bills offense to control the tempo and shorten the game. Buffalo’s front five, coached by Joe D'Alessandris, has been phenomenal through two weeks. Center Eric Wood has the run-blocking movement skills of a Pro Bowler, while left tackle Demetrius Bell (whom yours truly has been very hard on the past few years) has shown good awareness and improved mechanics in pass protection.

A good front line is key to having a sustainable offense. But unless the Bills can work some magic on special teams, they won’t need a sustainable offense to have a chance Sunday…they’ll need a perfect one.

So who will win? Check our expert picks for all Week 1 games.


Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: September 16, 2011 9:12 am
 

Bill Belichick has (gasp!) emotions

Bill Belichick showed some emotion in a NFL Network documentary (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

While watching the first part of the NFL Network’s fascinating documentary of Bill Belichick that was filmed during the 2009 season, I decided to jot down my favorite Belichick moments. Though you wouldn’t know it by his actions and his comments during the football season, if you see him in informal settings, Belichick actually has a personality.

It’s hard to imagine if you just watch him during his cold, emotionless in-season press conferences. But get him out of the media room, and he becomes a funny, interesting individual.

That said, here are the top-five quotes from Belichick during the documentary that showed Belichick in a light in which he rarely is seen -- as an actual human being who has emotions and a pretty good sense of when to unfurl some nasty trash talking.

-While talking to Jon Bon Jovi (!) during training camp, Bon Jovi basically asks, So, what’s the deal with that Rex Ryan?” Said Belichick in a way that almost could be construed as not hating Ryan: “I think he’ll get his guys to play. I think they’ll play hard for him.”

This is funny in retrospect, because this was before Ryan said he wouldn’t kiss Belichick’s rings and before Ryan beat Belichick in the playoffs last year. But Belichick was right. Ryan’s team does play hard for him.

-Here’s Belichick, while meeting in the pregame with the refs before Tom Brady takes his first preseason snaps after his knee surgery in 2008.

Says one official: “We’ll keep everybody safe.” Responded Belichick: “Take good care of (Brady). Hopefully we can block them.” Then, making an aside comment to Brady, “The only thing I can cheer for in Philadelphia is the national anthem.”

-During a preseason game, Julian Edelman looked fantastic in returning a punt for a touchdown. Immediately, Belichick sought out Wes Welker -- who was injured and not playing not that day -- and decided to poke some fun at him.

“You ever hear of Wally Pipp?”

Said Welker: “No.”

Belichick: “He played before Lou Gehrig. He missed one day, and Gehrig played the next 23,000 games (Ed. Note: this was either a mistake or a slight exaggeration). That might be the punt return story.”

Welker: “No doubt, he can have it.”

Belichick: “There you go. Way to compete.”

-When a reporter, playing off the Ryan “kiss your ring” comment, asked Belichick during a media teleconference if anybody had ever actually kissed his Super Bowl rings.

Belichick laughed but played it like normal: in other words not willing to give the scribes a morsel of interesting information.
 
“Um,” he said, “I don’t think so.”

“Where are your rings?”

“Uh, they’re in a box somewhere.”

-And my favorite moment of the documentary? It came when Ravens receiver Derrick Mason talked trash to Belichick in the middle of a game the Patriots would win.

“F--- you Mason,” Belichick said. “Just shut the f--- up. Can you look at the scoreboard?”

See the video below for a good laugh.

-And an honorable mention:

When he returns to the Meadowlands to play the Jets, he gets a little emotional as he reminisces about coaching in the Giants organization for a decade. When in the defensive meeting room, Belichick, with his voice catching, just can't get over how small the meeting room is compared to his memory of it. He even gets excited about seeing the old racquetball court. He was asked who won the racquetball games between him and Bill Parcells. “I probably beat him more than he beat me. As soon as it was over, he’d light into about four cigarettes.”



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Posted on: September 5, 2011 10:06 am
 

Report: Randy Moss willing to return to Patriots

Posted by Will Brinson

Randy Moss is, presumably, hanging out somewhere playing shuffleboard watching racecars make left turns. Because that's what retired people do, obviously. However, for all that excitement, Moss would reportedly be willing and/or interested in returning to the NFL ... if it were with the Patriots.

That's according to Chip Fontanazza of the West Virginia MetroNews, who not only interviewed Moss about stuff that doesn't relate to football but managed to pick up anonymous source that said "Moss does regret leaving the New England Patriots and that would most likely be the only team he would play for in the NFL if he would return."

The timing of the information is not just coincidental, but it's logical as well -- ever since Moss announced his retirement from the NFL, he's made it clear how much he respects and adores the New England organization.

It seems pretty unlikely that the Pats will make another run at/with Moss, though. They've certainly known that Moss would return to New England to wrap up his career, and therefore already could have signed him.

Instead, they went out and traded for Chad Ochocinco in order to beef up an already stout -- Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Brandon Tate, Julian Edleman, Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski -- group of pass-catchers.

But Ocho's struggled and the Pats recently dumped 2009 third-rounder Tate, so it would be a little foolish to rule anything out, especially as it relates to either Moss or Bill Belichick.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: August 30, 2011 8:19 pm
 

Ochocinco still struggling to feel comfortable

OchocincoPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Chad Ochocinco hasn’t had a good preseason with the Patriots.

There have been whispers that he, along with Albert Haynesworth, might be on the chopping block, and the most significant act of his first month in a New England uniform has been to offer to pay the fine of a guy who smacked him in a helmet-to-helmet hit and caused an incompletion.

Either that or the time he offered to live with a Patriots fan as long as that fan had an Xbox.

The part of the preseason, though, that has been flummoxing is that Ochocinco has been slow to catch on to the Patriots offense. You’ll recall Ochocinco grew comfortable in his previous 10 seasons with the Bengals, mainly because he was the star receiver for much of that time and because the offensive coordinator, Bob Bratkowski, ran the offense the entire time he was there.

But with the Patriots, Ochocinco is far behind the likes of Wes Welker and Deion Branch.

Even so, Ochocinco remains positive. And while there are many reasons to rip Ochocinco at any given time, his work ethic is certainly not in question. He works hard, maybe harder than you think.

Ochocinco in New England
“The transition has been good,” Ochocinco told reporters, via the Boston Herald. "It’s been fun. I’ve heard small little rumblings I haven’t caught on yet, but I’m just fine. … You have to think of, coming from any place where you’ve been someplace for 10 years, to come here and learn the verbiage, and learn as much I’ve learned in the past few weeks, I’ve done extremely well.

“I think it’s my third week. Let’s be realistic. It’s the highest levels of football. It’s not easy.”

If Ochocinco was to rate his comfort level on a scale of 1-10, he said he’d be about a seven right now. It is interesting to watch Ochocinco in relation to his new quarterback. With Carson Palmer, Ochocinco would get into shouting matches with him or pout (not just with Palmer, but with the coaching staff as well) on the sidelines of games.

But with Tom Brady, Ochocinco lets him talk as much as he needs to talk. Ochocinco listens to Brady and thinks over what he’s saying. Even if he’s not on the chopping block -- and I’m not convinced he is -- he knows he needs to be much better than he’s been so far.

I’m just nowhere near where I want to be,” Ochocinco said. “I’m my biggest critic anyway. Regardless of what you write, what you guys see, I’m the first to judge myself. I’m always aiming for perfection. One of the things about being here, one of the things about being in an organization like this that prides itself on perfection and excellence, I’m sort of putting the pressure on myself to be right and be perfect now. Not later. I’m trying to squeeze everything within a short time frame, and it’s somewhat impossible. But if I can aim to be as perfect as possible, I think I can get up to speed.”

Of course, if Ochocinco gets too sad, all he has to do is look at the fish that surround his head when he sleeps. That should make him feel better.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: August 25, 2011 12:16 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2011 12:18 pm
 

VIDEO: Welker draws motivation from non-believers

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Wes Welker has had quite a few outstanding seasons recently. Though maybe you’ll always think of Welker of nothing more than a possession receiver, he’s put up fantastic numbers the past four years (an average of 108 catches, 1,134 yards and 5.5 touchdowns in 15.25 games since 2007).

Still, Welker can’t shake the thought that he’s looked at as inferior to other top-line wide receivers. That’s what he thinks about when he’s training in the off-season. That’s what gives him motivation.

“I still feel like there’s a lot of doubters that I can’t do a lot of things on the field and that my value isn’t as great as a lot of the other guys out there,” Welker told CBSSports.com’s Mark Morgan in the below video. “There’s always something to prove and work on and get better at.”

Wait a minute, Morgan asked him. There are people who still doubt what you can do? Even with the numbers you’ve accumulated?

“I’m sure there are,” Welker said. “There’s no doubt. They’ll always try to (argue the numbers).”

Morgan also discussed Welker’s impending free agency (after he makes $2.5 million this season, his contract is up with the Patriots) and if he’d like to remain with New England.

“Of course I want to stay here,” Welker said. “I love playing here. But right now, I’m focused on this year and focused on what we need to do as a team to get better.”

There’s plenty more of fodder in the video, so make sure you click the play button below.



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