Willie Mac Update

July 26, 2009

From a recent Associated Press report:

Willie McGinest will consider playing another NFL season if he receives an interesting offer, and he would prefer to get it from the New England Patriots.The 37-year-old McGinest, the two-time Pro Bowl linebacker who won three Super Bowls with New England, acknowledged his interest Saturday during the Hollywood Stars celebrity softball game at Dodger Stadium.

“I do want to play, but only if the situation is right,” said McGinest, a Long Beach native who played at USC. “If not, I’m probably retired.”

McGinest, whose 16 postseason sacks are the most in NFL history, played the past three seasons in Cleveland after 12 years with the Patriots, who are thought to be thin at outside linebacker heading into training camp. McGinest had 56 tackles in 14 games with the Browns last season, his best performance since his final year in New England.

“There is a possibility,” McGinest said. “I’ve talked to (coach Bill) Belichick a few times. I’m not excited just to jump into camp, but we’ll see what happens.”

From the looks of it, it seems that both Willie McGinest and Bill Belichick are taking the wait and see approach to the situation.

I for one want to see how the young guys, Pierre Woods, Shawn Crable, and Vince Redd perform before the Patriots make any decisions on a veteran outside linebacker.  If no one shows up to play at the position by October, then I think the Patriots should look to bring in a veteran, be it a Willie McGinest or a Rosevelt Colvin.

Ultimately, I would be surprised if they brought in Willie.  I’m just not sure what he has left in the tank.  I would be less surprised if they brought back Junior Seau, whose play hasn’t declined much since the Pats signed him in August 2006.  However, as I said previously, I wouldn’t expect any decisions to be made on the vets until as early as September and as late as October, November, or possibly December.

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Report: Greg Ellis Chose Raiders over Pats

June 18, 2009

When outside linebacker/defensive end Greg Ellis was released by the Cowboys earlier this month, I thought he made a very ideal target for the Patriots considering his size, experience in the 3-4, and pass rushing ability.

However, I found this report by Jean-Jacques Taylor of the Dallas Morning News very interesting:

Greg Ellis, recently released by the Cowboys, has never won a playoff game in 11 NFL seasons. In choosing to play for Oakland, it certainly looks like his career will end without celebrating a playoff win.

Shed no teams for Ellis because he decided to take the cash instead of playing for a team with a chance to win in the playoffs.

He signed a three-year, $10 million deal with Oakland, the NFL’s worst franchise. He’s guaranteed to earn $5 million in the first two years.

He was scheduled to earn $5.6 in bonuses and salary this year. Just so you know, the Patriots offered him a one-year deal for $1.5.

That’s the same Patriots who are perennial championship contenders every year, and have three titles this decade.

I don’t have a problem with that. Neither should you. Few of us, given the choice between two companies, would choose the job that pays us the lower salary.

I just find it interesting because it’s always about the money, especially in pro sports.

Always.

While I disagree it’s always about the money, I think Taylor summed it up pretty well.  It’s disappointing, but I think the Patriots can live without Ellis.

Raiders defensive end Greg Ellis

Raiders defensive end Greg Ellis


Patriots Sign ILB Paris Lenon

May 27, 2009

The Patriots have made a move to upgrade their inside linebacking corps with the addition of inside linebacker Paris Lenon.

Lenon has spent his entire career as a 4-3 middle linebacker, so he will have to make the transition to 3-4 inside linebacker for the Patriots.  Assuming he can make this transition, he could be a big boost for the Patriots.  Lenon, 31, recorded 118 and 121 tackles in his last two seasons with the Lions, and can add sure tackling, experience, and smarts to the Patriots.  Here is what ESPN’s Scouts Inc. had to say on Lenon prior to the 2008 season:

Lenon is a six year player coming off his best season as the second leading tackler for the Detroit defense. He has good height and has grown into his body nicely. He is a solid athlete, but not an explosive player. He runs well and shows good range in pursuit. He has burst to close and agility to slip blockers or change directions to get to the pile. He uses his hands well, while pursuing with proper angles to work through trash to stay in the fray. He is a solid wrap tackler, but needs to keep his pads over his feet better. He has improved his reactions and appears to be more instinctive over this past season. He has a good feel for route progressions and leveraging the ball as well as having enough athleticism to be an effective man coverage defender. He has worked himself into a starting position and should continue to improve given his intelligence, work ethic and durability.

While Lenon likely won’t be making any Pro Bowl appearances, he could easily push Bruschi and Guyton for playing time on the inside.  And if things turn out well, he could be an option for 2010 if Bruschi does retire.

The Patriots hosted Lenon on a visit last week.  Interestingly, they hosted former Rams inside linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa this week as well.  Although with the addition of Lenon, I wouldn’t expect the Patriots to add Tinoisamoa.


Burgess to New England Heating Up?

May 19, 2009

From USA Today.com:

Multiple reports say Burgess may be had for a second- or third-round pick, and the Pats accrued many of those on draft weekend. Interesting to note, too, that the Raiders only charged New England a fourth-rounder for WR Randy Moss two years ago.

But back to Burgess. He’s coming off an injury-plagued 2008 season, but he can harass quarterbacks, presumably as a linebacker in the Patriots’ 3-4 look (the Raiders play a 4-3 defense). Burgess had 35 sacks between 2005-2007, making two Pro Bowls despite playing for one of the NFL’s worst teams.


Catching Up

May 11, 2009

Sorry for the hiatus guys.   Over the last week, unfortunately, I had been unable to update the website.  However, I’m back, and we’re moving full steam ahead.  I was going to have someone else update the website, but I figured there wouldn’t be much news, and I was wrong, kind of.

A day after introducing Patrick Chung to the media, the Patriots held their annual rookie minicamp.  In attendance were the twelve draft picks, a few tenured players (Ryan Wendell, Angelo Craig, and Brad Listorti), as well as over 10 tryout players.

However the biggest news coming out of rookie camp was the knee injury suffered by rookie inside linebacker and third round pick Tyrone McKenzie.  It has been reported that the injury is a torn ACL and that McKenzie will be done for the year.  McKenzie had been one of my early favorites from the 2009 rookie class, and I’m disappointed to see such a hard worker and charismatic player suffer another setback.

The big question now is who is the fourth inside linebacker?  Is it rookie free agent Antonio Appleby?  Is it veteran and core special teams player Eric Alexander?  The Patriots could also address the position through free agency.  The first name that comes to mind for me is Junior Seau, who is a real hit in the Patriots locker room.  I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see him “finish what we started.”

Soon following Patriots mini-camp, the Patriots signed eight tryout players.  The Patriots signed three Navy rookies: wide receiver Tyree Barnes, receiver/running back Shun White, and fullback/halfback Eric Kettani.  They also signed seventh year veteran Vinny Ciurciu.  Ciurciu is mostly a special teams player, but could possibly earn himself a role in the Patriots rotation.  The only other rookie they signed was Aaron Perez, the punter from UCLA.  However, the also picked up defensive lineman Steve Williams and running back Omar Cuff, two longer shots to make the roster.

The Patriots may have made their biggest signing just a day later when they picked up Brandon McGowan, safety from the Chicago Bears.  McGowan is coming off a season ending injury, but played very well in starting duties in 2007, and should immediately compete for playing time.  The deal is for two years, and that makes it kind of surprising, considering the Patriots already have three slightly undersized safeties in James Sanders, Patrick Chung, and Brandon Meriweather.  They also have rookie free agent Marcus McClinton, as well as veteran strong safety/inside linebacker Tank Williams.

Last but not least, free agent cornerback Ty Law has been “talking” to the Patriots according to Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis.  I don’t buy it.  Ty Law smacked the Patriots in the face after he returned to the Jets last year.  And frankly, I’m just tired of talking about a possible Law return.  With youngsters Terrence Wheatley, Jonathan Wilhite, and Darius Butler in the fold, and the free agent additions of the phyical Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden, would signing Law even help?

That’s all for now, expect more later in the day today.


McKenzie Tears Right ACL, Done for Season

May 6, 2009

Tyrone McKenzie, 3rd round pick of the New England Patriots, suffered a torn right ACL and is now done for the season. This was one pick that I was pretty excited about becasue of the lack of OLBs on the roster, so I thought McKenzie would have a chance to step on the field right away. With him now out, I think this makes the Patriots try that much harder to get Jason Taylor in New England for the season. Hopefully McKenzie can rehab and have no more injuries. Sitting out a year and becoming a sponge to the system isn’t exactly a bad thing.


Reiss: Patriots Still Interested in Taylor

May 1, 2009

From Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe:

The Patriots have reached out once again to free agent defensive end Jason Taylor in an attempt to woo him to New England, according to an NFL source. The club did not draft a pass-rushing outside linebacker last weekend, and Taylor could help fill that void.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft has said if Taylor, 34, wants to play in New England, it could happen.

The team appears to be stepping up its recruiting efforts, as the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported yesterday that the Patriots have “strong interest” in Taylor, who plans to make a final decision within two weeks.

Taylor has also spoken with the Dolphins, although they haven’t been aggressive, and the Buccaneers are another option, the Sun-Sentinel reported. Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator, Jim Bates, has ties to Taylor from his tenure as Miami’s defensive coordinator.

I guess this means that I was wrong in my draft day theory.  I felt that when the Patriots passed on taking an outside linebacker day one, that meant that the team had some confidence in Pierre Woods/Shawn Crable.  Still, I’d love to see Jason Taylor brought in, just not in an every down role, and not for much more than the minimum.