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.
Rodney Harrison, NBC Sports, joined MFB to discuss last night's game against the Chiefs, the Patriots' issues on both offense and defense, and how he feels Brandon Browner will impact the defense as he returns from suspension.
Greg, Steve and Chris zero in on the O-line specifically and look at what it will take to right the ship. Is the running game a solution or more blocking from TE's, LaFell etc. ?
The boys discuss what is going on with the Pats offense and why Brady has looked a little off so far. Is it O-line or WR issues? They specifically discuss Amendola, Thompkins and Dobson - who's the odd man out?
Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.
Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.
Joe Castiglione does his annual wrap-up of the season by reading the poem by Bart Giamatti.
Mut and Rob discuss the "kids" and the variety of young bodies the Red Sox called upon this season. Specifically, they look at Bogaerts and Bradley, Jr. and where things went wrong. They give their opinions on which one will right the ship next season.
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DJ Bean, WEEI.com, joined the guys to talk about the Bruins signing two young stars to 1-year contracts.
Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.
DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla
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The guys opened the show discussing the Pats brutal Monday night loss.
John Dennis left the show mid segment.
Christian's nephew twisted his ankle and missed Sunday's game because he (supposedly) slipped while rushing down the stairs to stop his puppy from peeing on the floor. Lou addresses the Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty from last night's game, in which a Chiefs player was flagged for dropping to his knees during a TD celebration. And Christian is dubious of some photos of LaRon Landry.
A familiar sentiment has arisen regarding the Patriots offense. Tom Brady is locking in on 2 guys (Edelman and Gronk) and no one else seems to be getting a look. A 37 year old, future Hall of Fame QB, has little to no weapons in 2014.
Lou, Christian and Tim break down last night's embarrassing loss on national television. They wonder just how much progress has been made towards building a championship team.
We discuss the Rajon Rondo injury and conspiracy theories, and whether or not his tale about falling in the shower holds any water. Get it? Shower... water? Nevermind.
We bring you the stuff you might have missed that we didn't have a chance to touch on today.
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Co-founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company, Jim Koch, talks about his Sam Adams beer and the history of his brewery.
Danny picard is filling in for Mikey and talks with CSNNE's Mike Giardi about Clay Buchholz heading up the Red Sox pitching rotation, and how the Patriots have looked through training camp so far.
Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.
Ben and Russ break down some rumors surrounding Real Madrid and Manchester United. Also on the docket is the MLS and your New England Revolution.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk talk about Gerry's passionate defense of Tom Brady, going to lunch and clock issues in the third edition of Breaking Balls.
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