ESPN football insider John Clayton talked with the Mut & Merloni show Tuesday afternoon and discussed one of the newest Patriots acquisitions, defensive end Shaun Ellis, who Clayton expects is the final signal that New England is in line for a scheme change.
"I think they figured out that Sean is going to be a valuable part of what looks to be a 4-3 defense," Clayton said. "Maybe the 3-4 days are going to be at least temporarily held back. I'm sure they can switch into a 3-4, but you can see now to try to get the pressure that they haven't been able to get from the linebacker position, they're going to get as many good, big bodies as they can up front to at least win the battle at the line of scrimmage."
That being said, Ellis turned down a one-year deal to stay with the Jets. Instead, the Patriots nabbed him and Clayton thought that deal was due to the limited dollars the Jets were offering the defensive end.
"I think they would have liked to have him back almost as a courtesy, but when you offer a veteran like that the minimum salary, I think you're telling him something, particularly somebody that's been there for so long, a guy that goes back to the Bill Parcells days," Clayton said.
But of course, any discussion about the Patriots offseason wheelings and dealings cannot go without some talk about Albert Haynesworth's addition on the defensive line. Although his production dropped considerably as his years in Washington went by, Clayton said he thought a change in scenery as well as the switch to the 4-3 should do the defensive tackle a lot of good.
"When he wants to be, he's unblockable," said the ESPN analyst. "Even go back to what you saw his first year in Washington. Now that wasn't a great Washington team. It was pretty average, but what they had to do was put two or three guys on him and so what it ended up doing was taking their two defensive ends, Andre Carter - who of course will be playing with Albert again - and the rookie at the time Brian Orakpo, and put them in double-digit sack seasons. This is from a team, I think if I'm not mistaken, that may have had like 13-17 sacks the year before. Well, they had 20 from the guys playing outside Albert.
"Albert draws a lot of attention, and he can physically dominate people and also too he can get push on the quarterback and try to get through those blockers. So I think what you're going to see is more of that and less what you saw last year."
Haynesworth and Ellis are just two moves of many this offseason in which the Patriots have targeted veteran players who may be on the decline of their careers but have had plenty of past successes. That drew some praise from Clayton in his interview with M&M.
"I think what they're bringing in are guys that have won, guys that have had success, guys that they know can do it and also addressing needs," Clayton said. "You know, once they made the decision with Randy Moss almost talking himself off the roster, they needed one more outside guy and now they get him in Chad Ochocinco. I think that for years after not finding that right rushing outside linebacker, they thought, "Right, how do we do it? Let's build up the defensive line in a 4-3." You look at the guys. How many Pro Bowls? How many great games have been played in all those defensive linemen that they acquired? What it also does is frees up Albert Haynesworth to maybe only 35-40 plays per game to be that dominant type of player. So I really like a lot of the things they're doing and I think it could very well translate into the postseason."
Also in light of the news that Jerry Rice called out Moss on failing to live up to his potential, Clayton said, as many have before him, that he expects we haven't heard the last of Moss in the NFL.
"Even though he did send a little note to Roger Goodell saying he was retiring, I don't think anybody's buying the fact that he's not going to play football this season," Clayton said. "It comes down to the right situation. ... He may wait until late August, early September, but I think if the right situation and the right team is there, he'll come back.
One of our favorite segments every week is when we get the chance to talk to the playmaker, Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin.
The guys asked Patriots LB Jerod Mayo about Tom Brady's mobility and athleticism. In his response, Jerod called Tom "a cerebral quarterback" and said he'd rather have a guy who runs a 4.8 in the right direction than a guy who runs a 4.3 in the wrong direction.
We get the coach's take on all things Patriots as the Patriots roll the Jaguars and head into the bye week at 3-0
Sam Packard is joined by his brother Nick, as he breaks down his favorite moments from Celtics Media Day. Sam then tries to compare each member of the Celtics roster to a character on The Wire, with varied results.
Sam Packard is joined by Jared Weiss of CLNSRadio.Com to talk about trading Bradley and the upcoming Celtics Media Day.
Jay King of Masslive.com joins the show to break down the performance of the Celtics during the NBA Summer League. Then Ben and Sam discuss the exciting possibility of a Space Jam sequel.
We check in for a final time this season with Red Sox interim manager Torey Luvollo as look ahead to 2016 with him.
Joe and Rob Bradford talk with Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart who had his first career multi home run game as the Red Sox beat the Yankees 10-4 and extend their winning streak to a season high 5 games.
Joe and Dave talk with Jackie Bradley Jr. after he hit a 2 run home run and made two leaping catches as the Red Sox beat the Yankees 4-1 tonight.
DJ Bean joins Butch Stearns and Rob Bradford in studio with the pre-season ending to discuss the upcoming season's line combinations and the changes made in the offseason.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
Which producer lost weight? And which one gained weight?
All the latest stories brought to you by Kirk Minihane.
Bobby calls in from the streets to talk about gang life and gun control.
With the emergence of the young players for the Red Sox this season, they're starting to look like they can be competitive next season. The guys discuss this and talk more about whether Farrell should be the manager next season when he gets healthy.
Leaks have come out over the last few days that John Farrell will return to the Red Sox when he gets healthy, but is this the right decision? Glenn, Lou and Christian discuss whether or not his job should be safe.
It looked like Ben Roethlisberger was on his cell phone during last night's Thursday Night Football game against the Ravens. Should this be a big issue? Do Patriots fans have reason to be upset that the NFL isn't making this a big deal?
A player that was suspended for PED use is really the top candidate for baseball's comeback player of the year? How is that possible? We discuss it.
We wrap up the week with some of the best sound bites that you may have missed.
Chris Villani and John Tomase discuss Tom Brady's suspension getting overturned by Judge Richard Berman and discuss in hindsight how obvious this should have been.
Mikey Adams and Lenny Megliola discuss the Thursday federal court decision to overturn Tom Brady's DeflateGate punishment.
Mikey Adams and Lenny Megliola discuss Jackie Bradley Jr, Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, and who should play where. Also, the current outfield in context with Sox history.
Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable take a look back at the 2015 season for the Boston Red Sox and their affiliates, including who the guys think should be classified as the team's Top 10 prospects. Also, a check in with play-by-play voices this year in Pawtucket, Portland, Salem, and Greenville as well as Ken's one-on-one interview with Offensive Player of the Year Sam Travis.
Jerry is joined by former sports reporter turned professional chef Jen Royle to discuss her upcoming fight for Haymakers For Hope.
We discuss the woes of Chelsea and Liverpool and the Revs rebounding to push into the playoffs. Plus the book on YoungBen is very flattering.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk look at the talented father-son duo.More from this show
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss the Ben Roethlisberger sidelines phone story... is it a big deal? Are Patriots fans over-reacting? What would happen if this were the Patriots with a phone on the sidelines? Should we be the 'bigger men' and just move on? We discuss.More from this show
All the latest stories brought to you by Kirk Minihane.More from this show