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.


Seau Up For Another Mid-Season Return?

July 6, 2009

Junior Seau has hinted that he may like to return to the Patriots at some point during the season.  Christopher Gasper of the Globe reports:

Junior Seau, who rode to the rescue of the Patriots last December, coming off the street and his surfboard to join New England for the final four games of the regular season, told a San Diego radio station that he would evaluate playing in a 20th NFL season at the end of October or November.

I think the readers of this blog know my opinion of Seau, I’d love to have him back.  However, with the addition of Paris Lenon and Seau’s inability to contribute on special teams, you’d have to wonder if the Patriots would take him back.

The Patriots could instead elect to sign Willie McGinest, who fills a need at left outside linebacker and who has expressed his desire to return to the Patriots.

However, as much as I’d like to see either or both players return to the Patriots, I believe they make more sense as emergency options who could be signed mid-season should the Patriots be faced with a plethora of injuries.

Would Derrick Burgess Solve the Pass Rush Issue?

May 19, 2009

By now, you’ve probably heard the rumors of a Derrick Burgess trade to New England for a second or third round draft pick. However, what would a potential trade for Burgess mean for the Patriots?

For one, it would give the Patriots immediate insurance at outside linebacker.  Burgess, 30, has 47.0 career sacks, most of which have come with the Oakland Raiders since 2005.  He has played defensive end in the 4-3 his entire career, but could presumably make the switch to 3-4 outside linebacker.  The 6’2″, 260 pound end, Burgess has just one year left on his contract at a reasonable price.  However, the Patriots will probably keep in mind that Burgess had just 3.5 sacks in 10 games played last season (although I haven’t watched tape on the Raiders so I’m not really in a position to state that he wasn’t effective.

Currently, the Patriots have Adalius Thomas, Shawn Crable, Pierre Woods, Vince Redd, and Tully Banta-Cain under contract at outside linebacker.  Burgess would certainly add experience, but would also add versatility.  If the Patriots completed a trade for Burgess, and Crable, Woods, or Redd could step up to a certain extent, the Patriots would have the luxury of playing Adalius Thomas at some inside linebacker, where the Patriots need depth following the torn ACL of rookie Tyrone McKenzie.  Worst case scenario?  Both Thomas and Burgess play solely outside linebacker, which would seemingly be an upgrade from the current situation.

The Patriots have been discussing a trade with Burgess since before the draft, so I’m not sure a trade is imminent, although it very well could be close.  My hunch?  The Patriots complete the trade for a 2010 third round pick, as I think that is the middle ground between what the two sides are looking for.

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.

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.

King: Pats Trying to Move into Top 10

April 24, 2009

Peter King of SI.com is reporting that the Patriots are in the process of trying to move up into the top 10:

Busy morning. The Patriots are trying to move up into the top 10 of the draft — but low in the top 10. Executives from two teams tell me New England offered its first-round pick and middle of three second-round picks (the 23rd and 47th picks overall) to Jacksonville for the eighth pick in the draft. Jacksonville GM Gene Smith, I’m told, said no … but I also hear the Patriots might be looking to Green Bay at nine to move as well.

Who might be the object of their affection? I’m told it may be a surprise, because smart money would say the target is LSU’s Tyson Jackson, the best 3-4 defensive end in the draft and the only end versatile enough to play every spot on the defensive line. But I’m not sure it’s Jackson. I think it might be an offensive player. Sorry to be so cryptic, but I truly don’t know.

This is big “news,” but it isn’t all that surprising because we knew that the Patriots would be trying to move around some picks.  I believe Jacksonville rejected the offer because they want to wait and see if Sanchez is available so that they can try to get a bidding war going or something.  So a deal like this could get done while Jacksonville is on the clock?

The obvious question is, who would the Patriots be going for at #8 overall, or somewhere around that range?

I guess there is a chance Aaron Curry could fall if the Chiefs pass on him, so he would be an obvious target.  Tyson Jackson, as Peter King discussed, would be the most obvious guess, as he has been receiving comparisons to Ty Warren.  There is also Everette Brown, Brian Orakpo, and Aaron Maybin as pass rushers, although there are questions surrounding all three of them.  The other two defensive options would be B.J. Raji and Malcolm Jenkins.  B.J. Raji is probably a top 5 talent, but personally, I would stay away from him, as I would much rather keep Vince Wilfork.  I would be thrilled if we moved up to take Jenkins.

There are also some options on offense.  The Patriots could be hoping that one of the top 3 tackles, Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe, and most likely Andre Smith would be sitting there at 8 or9.  They could also throw a curveball by picking a Michael Crabtree if he was around at that point.

Whatever the case may be, I’m going to be watching the top 10 a lot closer this Saturday.

Reports: Patriots to Host Pat White, Brooks Foster on Visits

April 7, 2009

And the visits keep piling up.  First, Christopher Gasper of the Globe reports that West Virginia quarterback / receiver / athlete Pat White will visit with the New England Patriots next Monday and Tuesday.

Clearly, this shows that the Patriots have a legitimate interest in the West Virginia great, having already held a private workout with him last month.

White could project as high as round two in this month’s draft, although I think his ultimate landing spot may be the third round.  And the team he lands with could very well be the New England Patriots, from what I’ve seen so far.

According to Gasper’s colleague, Mike Reiss, the Patriots hosted North Carolina wide receiver Brooks Foster today.  Often overshadowed by Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate, Brooks Foster was originally projected to be a high draft pick.  However, a knee and a slow senior senior year have probably pushed him down to the fourth or fifth round of the draft.  Foster is known for his ability to make the difficult catch, and is a decent vertical threat.