|07.28.14 at 11:25 pm ET|
Just in recent football lore alone, there’s been defensive tackle Sean Gilbert, Law and Revis. In past years, Mike Ditka and Tony Dorsett also hail from the Western Pennsylvania town. In basketball, there’s the late, great “Pistol” Pete Maravich and in baseball, pitcher Doc Medich.
So when Law knew that Revis would be a free agent in the offseason, the two talked and Law was pretty sure that New England would step up to the plate and offer him a deal. Law was also sure he could get more money – and years – elsewhere.
“Sometimes, learning from experience, I think he made an incredible decision to not go and take the money and have a chance to win because winning are the things that are going to be remembered for a long, long time when you get a chance to win a championship. So yeah, I’m glad he made the decision to come here and not go get the money,” Law said.
“I don’t want to say if I was influential or not, because it was ultimately his decision. I just had an opinion. I had to learn even from some of my own decisions I made. Sometimes, when you’re in the heat of battle, I didn’t have a mentor. The only person that I could depend on was me and make the decisions so some decisions I made were great and some decisions I made were not so great. If I can instill that and just tell him what I’ve been through, and same thing with my son, live and learn through me and take my mistakes and use those as a lesson as well. I think Darrelle ultimately did what was best for him but coming here was a great decision and I encouraged that.”
Revis agreed to a one-year, $12 million deal. Prove yourself in New England and millions more will follow. Of course, when Law left after the 2004 season, he had already proven himself to the tune of three Super Bowl titles. But the Patriots couldn’t afford his $12.5 million cap hit for the 2005 season and was released.
|07.28.14 at 6:16 pm ET|
The Patriots announced Monday they have claimed rookie running back Tyler Gaffney off waivers from Carolina and released veteran linebacker Josh Hull. Here’s a portion of the release from the team on the moves.
Gaffney, 23, was originally drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft (204th overall) out of Stanford. He was injured in training camp and was released by the Panthers on July 27. The 6-foot, 220-pounder, had a productive senior season in 2013, starting in all 14 games and finishing with 330 rushing attempts for 1,709 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns. Gaffney played as a true in 2009 and then took the 2012 season off to play professional baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system, before returning to college football for the 2013 season.
Hull, 27, is a veteran of four NFL seasons with the St. Louis Rams (2010-12) and the Washington Redskins (2013), who was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on April 24. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder was originally drafted by St. Louis in the seventh round (254th overall) out of Penn State in 2010. He was released by St. Louis at the end of training camp in 2013 and signed with Washington as a free agent on Oct. 15, 2013. Hull has played in 39 NFL games with one start and has registered 25 total tackles. Last season with the Rams, Hull played in 11 games and finished with 14 total tackles.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|07.28.14 at 5:48 pm ET|
Leave it to the Jets to make a Patriots off-day still worth paying attention to the NFL.
Jets linebacker Calvin Pace says his team’s defense is not only improved for 2014, he insists it’s the best defense in football, not the defending champion Seahawks, not the vastly improved Patriots or Broncos or the young and hungry Bengals. The Jets.
‘[Compared to] the rest of the defenses in the NFL? S’, man, we’re the best,’ Pace told the New York Daily News. ‘You ask anybody around the league, we’re not the team you want to see coming in, even in a down year.’
Why would Pace make such a statement? He believes the basis of such confidence lies in his head coach Rex Ryan.
‘There’s a certain type of aggression when we come [play you]. You know we’re going to come with a lot of stuff and teams don’t want to see that,’ he said. ‘They want to see a vanilla defense, that just lines up and you know where they’re going to be. I’ll take these guys and Rex and this system any day.’
Pace is hardly the first Jet to pop off this summer. After all he’s learning from the best. Ryan has already labeled David Harris the most underrated linebacker in the NFL and Ryan describing himself as ‘a great coach” while corner Dee Milliner says he’s the best corner in the NFL.
|07.28.14 at 3:57 pm ET|
Even Law admitted Monday – after getting fitted for his Patriots Hall of Fame jacket for this Friday’s ceremony – that Revis is what fans have been longing for.
“Well, you got him now,” Law laughed Monday when told that Pats fans have longed for another shutdown corner like him in the secondary since he left after the 2004 season, the last season that ended with a Patriots Super Bowl title.
Law and Revis have long-established roots, dating back to Western Pennsylvania, where they both attended the football-frenzied Aliquippa High.
“It’s going to be different because it’s going to be more structured here with Coach Belichick,” Law said. “I did tell him don’t get caught up [with] the Belichick that you might see on TV because he’s not like that. He’s not going to give much but once you get to sit down and talk to Coach Belichick you understand how cool he is, how flexible he is with a player of your caliber. You’re not going to be pigeon-holed into anything. He is approachable. You can go up to coach Belichick and say, ‘Hey, I want to play this.’ He’s going to listen to you. A lot of people don’t understand that but you have to be a certain type of player to get away with it. And he is that type of player.
“I think he’s going to have a lot of fun and he’s going to be out there doing his job. What they paid him to do is taking out the best guy but you’re probably going to go inside, you’re probably going to do a little bit of blitzing. It’s just going to be a fun overall scheme for Darrelle because normally he goes into a situation where ‘This is who I have.’ You’re there all day.
“I said [to him] you’re going to do a lot more things because you’re not going to know from week to week if you’re playing a 4-3, a 3-4, you’re not going to know. That was the enjoyment as a player, when you come in and you have no idea what the hell is going to happen in the game plan and you’re looking forward to it. Sometimes, you’re going to get disappointed and say, ‘Aw man, why are we playing this?!’
“But Coach Belichick, it’s ‘In Bill We Trust’ so you’re going to have the best chance to win. And I think he’s going to enjoy it. He’s going to have a lot of fun.”
|07.28.14 at 10:59 am ET|
FOXBORO — Julian Edelman knows he’s a wanted man.
Since the departure of Wes Welker, he’s become the No. 1 wide receiver target of Tom Brady and second only behind Rob Gronkowski in terms of priority passing options for the Patriots quarterback. Defenses last season began to understand this and that figures to be the case again this season as Edelman draws more and more attention.
But like Welker, Edelman’s value goes far beyond the passing game. He is one of the best weapons in the game as a punt returner – ever.
Surprised? Consider that he is tied for fourth best all-time (minimum 75 returns) with Devin Hester at 12.3 yards per return and is only a half-yard from George McAfee and Jack Christiansen for the best average in NFL history.
No one is calling Edelman’s return skills “ridiculous” as was the case with Hester but still, those are lofty numbers and explain why Bill Belichick wants to devote such important resources to give Edelman the best chance at making big plays on retuns. Sunday, he was back again receiving punts as Devin McCourty and Darrelle Revis were defending the opposing gunner while Brandon Browner was on the opposite side.
“I think it’s key just because we have a returner in Julian who can make big plays and he can score touchdowns,” McCourty said. “For us, we just have to go out there and give him a chance. We’re all guys that have been in the league. We’ve all done it before, and if we give him a chance, I think he can make big plays and that helps the team win.”
Edelman’s numbers fell a bit in 2013, averaging 10.7 yards per return with a career-high 23 fair catches.
“When you get 10 yards that’s your goal and when guys are working together you get a little more which is great,” Edelman said about the importance of the entire special teams unit. “But our number one job on that unit is to get the ball in the offense’s hand and make the right decision.”
Sunday, it paid off as Edelman thrilled the 10,000 fans in attendance by breaking free down the right sideline on one return. For Edelman, it’s part of his roots with the Patriots, something he has always enjoyed because it earned him a spot on the roster.
“That’s a part of the game that gave me an opportunity to make this team,” Edelman said. “I love returning punts. I want to do that and if they ask me to do that, I’m going to do it.”
If he doesn’t do it or is unable to perform those responsibilities, the duty will fall to Danny Amendola or possibly rookie Roy Finch, assuming his makes the team. Finch took some return reps Sunday, including a bobble, but recovered quickly.
“You guys remember when I was a rookie bobbling the ball around everywhere and getting booed by the crowd, but he’s just got to get some experience, repetition,” Edelman said, adding perspective. “You got to work on catching punts, finding the tip of the ball — if it turns over, if it doesn’t — what foot punter it is, the trajectory of the punt, what return you have — if it’s a return, if it’s not a return — the situation in the game,” Edelman said. “All that stuff. It comes with experience. I still have to try in practice every day to improve what I have to do because it’s a craft. If you don’t do it every day, it will slip away.”
|07.27.14 at 9:42 pm ET|
FOXBORO — No one is happier to be camping with the Patriots this summer than Patrick Chung.
The 26-year-old safety was allowed to walk after the 2012 season, his fourth in New England, and took a three-year, $10 million deal with Philadelphia in March 2013.
But after a disappointing first year, a season in which he suffered several injuries, lost his job to rookie Earl Wolff and never connected with new coach Chip Kelly, he was released in March. There were those who wondered who would want a safety who seemed on the outs, or at least out of chances in the NFL.
Enter the Patriots. Bill Belichick, who made the decision to let Steve Gregory walk, knew something about Chung that in his mind earned him another chance. Belichick offered Chung a one-year, $1.1 million deal based on his work ethic alone. Chung has been quietly making a good impression all over agin, working mainly with the second and third teams during the first four practices, with an occasional rep with the first unit and old friend Devin McCourty.
“I love it,” Chung told WEEI.com after Sunday’s rain-shortened practice. “Love it here. Culture is good here. Fans are good here. Coaches are good here. Locker room is good here. Food is good here. I like it here, man. It’s home.”
To McCourty, it’s just good to have a football brother next to him again on the field.
“It’s good because Pat is a true pro,” McCourty told WEEI.com. “He’s a guy that comes in every day ready to work. He understands the defense. I think he’s another model citizen for the younger guys, someone they can look at and model their game, model what he does to get ready for practice and get ready to know what he’s doing. It’s been great. He’s a friend mine who was here the whole time I was here. He experienced something different for a year and now he’s back.”
What specifically does Chung bring back to the Patriots and the secondary?
“Just his work ethic, whether it’s in the weight room and being one of the stronger guys or getting ready for practice, doing different things,” McCourty added. “A younger guy can come see him get in the hot tub, or I’ll do this before practice, just to make sure I’m ready. Not just stretch before practice and go. As you get in this league, you have different aches and pains you that you need to take care of on your own.”
While McCourty has passed Chung on the safety depth chart since his departure in 2012, Chung says not much else has changed since his first four-year tour in Foxboro.
“Absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing,” Chung said. “Just work hard, stay out of trouble and take it day-by-day. Bill knows what he’s doing so pay attention.”
|07.27.14 at 1:26 pm ET|
FOXBORO — When Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner were brought into the fold by the Patriots in the offseason, there was a presumption that the Patriots were about to alter their defensive approach somewhat, perhaps going with a more physical attack at the line of scrimmage and playing more pure bump-and-run.
But on Sunday, Patriots director of personnel Nick Caserio clarified that thinking. He said Revis and Browner help the Patriots do more defensively but won’t change their overall approach.
“I think our philosophy is the same every year,” Caserio said. “We try to look at our team, try to improve our team and do what we think is in our best interest. Both guys have been successful in their systems that they’ve played in. They’re in a new system with a new team. No real change in terms of what we look for. Their measurables may be a little bit different but there’s really no change in terms of how we approach it.”
Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus would beg to differ, arguing that it means more matching up in the secondary than we’ve seen before.
“No, I think we just look at our team and we try to find players that we think are going to help our football team, regardless of who they played for, regardless of where they come from,” Caserio insisted. “I mean, really it has no bearing on it.”
But Caserio did admit that when you have a special player like Revis, a defense can perform at a different level because it can do different things.
“When we go into a game, really each week, the game plan changes week to week,” Caserio said. “So, you figure out who you’re playing against, what are we trying to stop, what are we trying to take away? Then the game plan is implemented based on those types of things. You try to deploy your players and deploy your assets the best you can. Certain weeks it may be one thing, other weeks it may be another thing.
“So, you really just ‘ whatever their skills, whatever they do well, you try to put them at the position where they can be successful to utilize those. Then look at, ‘OK, who are we playing? OK, how does that particular skill, how does that player match up relative to some other players?’ So, it’s really week to week and it’s really based on the opponent, which those get into some more of the game plan type specific things once we get into the season.”
Caserio maintained Sunday they are not do anything to accommodate Revis in their defense but rather the other way around.
“I think the approach is, ‘What do we need to do to help us win the football game?’ That’s what we’ll try to do ‘ whether it’s offensively, defensively or in the kicking game.”
2014 PATRIOTS DRAFT PICKS
2014 NFL DRAFT
Latest from Bleacher Report
- How Big of an Impact Will Easley Make for Pats?
- Patriots' Top Offseason Moves
- Assessing Every Patriots UDFA's Chances of Making the Roster
- Projecting Patriots' Roster Battles This Offseason
- Ranking Pats' Remaining Offseason Priorities
- Early Projections for Patriots' Final 53-Man Roster
- In-Depth Look at Each Pats Draft Pick