Mel Kiper puts two Patriots in the top ten of his 2009 NFL redraft. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Mel Kiper puts two Patriots in the top ten of his 2009 NFL redraft. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Mike ReissIt’s the NFL draft season, which means various analysts produce their “re-drafts” from the past, looking back on a draft and considering how it would unfold today based on the players’ performance.

As part of an Insider piece, Mel Kiper goes through the exercise for 2009, and the New England Patriots land two players in the top 10: Receiver Julian Edelman  and offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer.

Kiper passes along one conversation he had with an NFL general manager who called Edelman, “the toughest cover in the NFL right now.”

There’s a technique in the propaganda game that’s been used by totalitarian dictators from time immemorial. From the Roman emperors to Napoleon, from Stalin to Roger Goodell. It’s what’s known as The Big Lie. Say something often enough, say it loud enough, repeat it ad naseum and no matter how untrue it is, eventually it will become accepted as fact.

I bring this up to address one Big Lie that this article helps expose, and that is this myth that Bill Belichick is a terrible drafter. Specifically, that he can’t draft wide receivers.

I’m not the biggest Mel Kiper guy. He’s never once successfully predicted a Patriots draft pick (unlike your pal Jer, The Belichick Whisperer over here). In fact, even his first round predictions have been so consistently off base they betray a complete ignorance of the Patriots schemes, system and scouting methods. It’s like he just lists his draft board in order and wherever New England is selecting, he gives them the corresponding player at that number regardless of his system fit.

But I have to give Captain Hindsight credit where it’s due here. He does have a firm grasp of how well Belichick drafts with the benefit of years. And also I should point out that right after that 2009 draft he gave the Pats a grade of B+, though that was due largely to his love of colossal failures like Darius Butler and Ron Brace. So it’s one of those right pew, wrong church situations. But why quibble?

The fact is that the Patriots got two starters who are among the very best at their positions. Vollmer with the 83rd overall pick and Edelman with the 234th. Neither of whom was considered a good selection by anyone when the Pats made them. Vollmer was on practically no one’s draft board and the few who did have him considered him to be an enormous “reach” in the third round. Edelman was little more than a curiosity. A project who was unlikely to make it past the second roster cutdown, much less make the team. Now here we are in 2015 and they’re not only stars, they’re champions.

But the biggest fallacy of all is this notion that Belchick can’t draft receivers. Here we’ve got an anonymous NFL talent evaluator saying Edelman is the toughest guy to cover in the NFL. And yet Belichick gets no more credit for having the foresight and balls to draft a college QB and convert him into one of the most feared weapons in the league than he would if he found Edelman floating down the Nile in a basket.

The fact is Belichick’s track record for drafting wideouts is probably better than most GM’s in football. If he hasn’t hit any tape measure grand slams in that area, it’s got more to do with the fact he doesn’t take many swings than his lack of scouting acumen.

Consider the numbers. In his fifteen drafts with the Patriots, Belichick has selected the whopping total of 13 wideouts. THIRTEEN. Six of those were drafted in the 5th round or later. And two of those, Mathew Slater and Jeremy Ebert, were taken as Special Teamer WRINOs (Wide Receiver in Name Only). Of the remaining picks, he struck gold with Edelman, Deion Branch and David Givens, and the jury is still out on Josh Boyce and Aaron Dobson, who remain on the roster. But he has yet to whiff on a high value, costly, truly damaging WR draft failure in his Patriots career. What he has done however is trade mid-round picks for studs like Randy Moss and Wes Welker, develop stars like Edelman and consistently maintain one of the best offenses in the league, year in and year out.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to America’s number one draft guru and that unnamed GM. Of course they’re just saying it now and I’ve been saying it all along. But after all there is but one Belichick Whisperer.


Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

NY TimesThe actor and comedian Will Ferrell arrived [at SXSW] with Kevin Hart to present the comedy “Get Hard.” Last week, we asked readers to submit questions for Mr. Ferrell. He sat down with us at the Four Seasons to answer some of them. Here are his responses:

Q. Will, we are fraternity brothers of Delta Tau Delta, albeit different chapters and years. The recent awful situation with SAE has brought out the “frat haters” in droves. Could you comment on your own fraternity experience and why (or why not) fraternity membership is still a worthy consideration for a college student? ‘€” Stephen Browning,

A. The incident in Oklahoma, that is a real argument for getting rid of the system altogether, in my opinion, even having been through a fraternity. Because when you break it down, it really is about creating cliques and clubs and being exclusionary. Fraternities were started as academic societies that were supposed to have a philanthropic arm to them. And when it’€™s governed by those kind of rules, then they’re still beneficial. But you gotta be careful. I was lucky in that the one I was in, we were really kind of the anti-fraternity fraternity. … It was just about having fun. But I think it’€™s an interesting dilemma for universities these days.

What the hell? Now Frank the Tank himself is coming out against fraternities? Has the whole world gone mad? Is there nothing I can believe in any more?

By way of full disclosure, I was never in a frat. I barely had a college experience at all, never mind signing on for the Greek Life. The Weymouth guys I grew up with hung out together all through our college years and beyond. And I realized early on they would be my friends without some hazing ritual where we’d have to get weird with each other’s butts or whatever it is frats do. So the whole frat thing had no appeal for me.

But that doesn’t mean I want to do away with the whole fraternity system. Just because it wasn’t for me doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate its role in society. If the movies have taught me anything, it’s that we need frats. Without frats, who’s going to get hammered and go on hilarious adventures? Who’s going to exclude the unpopular kids and make them feel more inadequate than they already do? Who’s going to be the mortal enemy of nerds on campus? Who’ll pull harmful but entertaining pranks on the stuck-up snobs in the adminstration? Where’s the pointless vandalism and wanton destruction going to come from if not the frats? Not from commuter students like I was, that’s for sure. And not to mention, those barely legal sorority girls aren’t going to seduce themselves.

Like I said, I was never a frat guy so I’m not qualified to defend them. But I do know someone who is: Eric Stratton, who took pre-law. Or pre-med. What’s the difference? As he put it so eloquently, “The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules or took a few liberties with our female party guests. We did. But you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few sick, perverted individuals. If you do, shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg, isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well you can do what you want to, but we won’t sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America!”


Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
For the first time in two months, Roger Goodell finally says something about Deflategate.

For the first time in two months, Roger Goodell finally says something about Deflategate. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

If you remember back when Roger Goodell gave the world his robotic, tedious, soul-sucking press conference after the Ray Rice fiasco, he repeatedly talked in monotonous lawyer-speak about the need for “transparency” going forward. So to prove he meant what he said, he gave us … what? One waste-of-time press conference at the Super Bowl and then nothing since. That is until this week’s Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column, where the Commissionerbot 2000 finally answered some questions about Deflategate. Sort of:

The MMQB: [W]e’€™re at the two-month anniversary of the AFC Championship Game and the investigation into allegations that the Patriots deflated the football or footballs in that game. How much thought did you give that you needed to get it resolved so it’s not hanging over the league? It seems like it’€™s been hanging over the league for two months. Was there any thought in your mind to try to get it resolved that week so that it didn’t mar anything associated with the Super Bowl?

Goodell: No. I think the most important thing is to get the right information, to get the facts and to get the truth. And not to make any judgments until you get that. We have been very careful on that. We followed the facts. We took the information. We determined that we should bring Ted Wells to further the investigation. We haven’€™t given him a timetable except to be thorough, be fair and get to the truth. When he’€™s completed his report, that will be made public as well as to all of us.

The MMQB: Is two months to investigate that too long?

Goodell: Again, I think that if you’€™re going to be thorough, it takes time. You’€™re having to meet with a lot of people. I guess it’€™s always too long, because you want to get to that issue and deal with it. It’€™s important not to exert any pressure to short-circuit or do anything other than be fair and transparent.

The MMQB: Can you say that the first time that you heard about this was after the game?

Goodell: Yes.

The MMQB: You know that there’€™s a storyline out there that you knew about the deflating and wanted to catch them in the act.

Goodell: Let’€™s just short circuit this a little bit. I’€™m not going to get into what we knew and when we knew it because that’€™s part of what he’€™s investigating. … I can tell you that I was not personally aware of it until after the game.

I have two takeaways from this. First of all, of course Goodell is right to give Ted Wells all the time he needs. Investigations of this magnitude can take months if not years. The Salem Witch Trials lasted from February 1692 to May 1693. The McCarthy Hearings went from 1950 to 1956. Hell, the Spanish Inquisition went on for centuries. Witch hunts aren’t just something you slap together. It takes time to make something out of nothing. So by all means, let’s give Wells infinity if that’s how long he needs to get to the bottom of the grave national crisis that was some air possibly missing from some footballs.

The second and much bigger point is this business of whether the NFL set up a sting operation to catch the Patriots. Or, to put it in terms of an actual historic scandal, what did the commissioner know and when did he know it?

And now we have at least a partial answer. Because Goodell’s verbiage is very telling here. The fact that Wells is looking into when exactly someone in the league was tipped off to the idea is way, way more pertinent to what went on in that AFC championship game than anything that would register on an air pressure gauge.

And back at the NFL combine in mid-February we had the Colts’ own GM Ryan Grigson saying straight out that prior the title game his team “notified the league about our concerns. We went into the game, we had some issues.” But now the commissioner of the league is saying he “personally” knew nothing about it until after the game.

So the question then becomes who did the Colts talk to? And why, if ball pressure is so critical to the integrity of the game that even the rumor that some of the balls weren’t up to spec became THE national news story for an entire week, then why didn’t those people bring it to the man in charge?

Now allow me to answer my own question: Because this was a sting operation from the jump. Most likely involving former Jets executive/longtime Bill Belichick-grudge holder Mike Kensil, and quite possibly some others in the league office. This was the Colts, with an assist from John Harbaugh and the Ravens along with NFL executives playing the long con. And the more this Wells investigation drags on, the clearer it is that this stopped being about how Tom Brady likes his footballs, whether Belichick is really Mona Lisa Vito, and how long Patriots ball boys spend taking a whizz, and all about that.

So I’m glad Roger Goodell chose to descend from Mt. Olympus to share a few words with us mortals. Because even when he’s saying nothing, he says something.


Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
The Bruins have struggled all year and the team is looking older and slower than ever. MFB re-visits the idea of trading the future HOF defenseman and it's long time enforcing forward.

[0:02:24] ... pun intended. Mr. stomach the prospect of frustrating Milan Lucic went about. Zdeno Chara. He knew what was plopped down you know you you. Find out if George will and who. What it is no movement ...
[0:05:58] ... so my thing is that. Is it necessarily the answer. That it's Claude Julien or Peter relic has to go to actually make it changed it does that does the roster have to be retool we ...
[0:06:36] ... together for a long long time and it's such a good comparison Terry Francona. In 2011. It's just a group that's been around awhile. And eventually they just don't hear it anymore we heard early in ...
[0:11:44] ... Hockey related off the ice moments here we're gonna hear plus a Christian Fauria goaltending challenge update banner night for seven WV. ...

Another shootout loss on Sunday night pushed the Bruins losing streak to 5. The team is currently in 8th place in the Eastern Conference. They are ONE point ahead of Ottawa, who has 2 games in hand.

[0:04:42] ... Ross is gonna look like they've been the playoffs they've won a Stanley Cup with the core group guys they have. The Celtics your strike and you're trying to see what they can build for the ...
[0:15:08] ... Bruins fans is that a tactic that they should employee like the Tampa Bay Lightning did with Stephen stamp goes and see here's the problem with that. Given the post or an outbreak understand exactly yet and ...
[0:18:10] ... but that's not. That's not firing me up withstand posted a bombed Tampa Bay Lightning that is fired me up and I couldn't you wrist injuries occupier so what he goes after. But that was. For campus beautiful thing the question is why that fired up Tampa mortar fired up Boston's very desperate right now and that's just not what you're seeing it from his team. There is nothing there's nothing at all. Used to be those momentum fights for the Bruins when the team was down they've been down for a lot haven't seen one you get Lou which you get Chara. He got the Quaid. And and get Gregory Campbell was like the guy that jumps off the car jumps into files I want to fight anybody right and and that's like what's got everybody else drops to go out to get their ass kicked. Get it isn't it isn't it risky though make it mean yes this point it can. Backfire. Badly have to do it that's my point is that did the standings are what they are and their obvious to anybody who looks and the Bruins are a vulnerable position. And if this team that needs to see up Patrice Bergeron. Pull a Steven stamp goes and they are apt. They are screwed in addition about a goal of the playoffs because of ...

Steelers linebacker James Harrison is rejoining his team this season. The five-time Pro Bowler signed a two-year deal with Pittsburgh on Sunday after he had been tempted out of his brief run at retirement last year. He announced the signing on Instagram with a picture of him signing his contract.

In 2014, the 36-year-old was retired for 18 days before the Steelers got him back on the roster in September. With little time to train or prepare, it took Harrison a few games to get his legs under him. This go around, he has time to get ready for his 13th NFL season.

Harrison began a training program as the offseason began and had been considering either returning to Pittsburgh or heading to the Titans with former Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, whose contract was not renewed in January.

With linebackers coach Keith Butler taking over for LeBeau, Pittsburgh’s defense will have a different look to it.

The signing also comes in handy for the Steelers, who had linebacker Jason Worilds announce his retirement a couple of weeks ago, as Harrison is one of two players on the roster with more than nominal experience at the position. The team is expected to pick up another edge pass rusher in the draft, though.

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen
The guys discussed Peter Kings conversation with Roger Goodell.

[0:00:25] ... commissioner Roger Goodell that at the state of the league address during Super Bowl. He did sit down and agreed to a 75 minute interview with MM QB. Peter King. In Rogers park avenue office in ...
[0:05:09] ... environmental. Pressures brought to bear literally and figuratively on these footballs and bill Belichick's scientific Saturday. Is what we've come up with a well we found the same thing that we think atmosphere and temperature change ...
[0:07:05] ... to be dealt with before they got to fit right so the Super Bowl would be take it wrong. We would like ten different things everybody thought ten different things every single one of the triangle ever be a sports story in the city again involving one of the four sports teams. It is the lead story on each of the nightly news I Eric Hernandez and lastly let Hernandez could get convicted it won't be no well I don't know the first story we'll get convicted. And at the campus. And I know he won't he won't dwell on that he does have a list like you do the enemy's list but picker what Tom Brady went through. Or dealt brittle cried he was so disappointed. In Tom Brady motion there was one guy after another Jerome Bettis I mean Joseph Montana. Troy Aikman Jerry Rice Lewis actually called Brady a ...
[0:08:17] ... football that is the NFL. That is suddenly yeah. So subtly Hume Brian Williams and Scott Kelly and the rest of them were circle and in that were. Wolves at the door in and out of Foxboro Brady do press coverage where we saw Brady would never seen before and sees a guy tainted by scandal. We thought this was the biggest story like among the bigger stories we've ever done that's like we thought we minimized at the time either and we thought it was a big deal. I just typically what Tom Brady had to say you don't usually say about this compared to steal and grapes. And you're gonna get mad at me when ...

The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.

[0:03:43] ... number is number 259. In what on the billionaire list in the United States and two point six billion dollars. That. The Boston Globe is imploring you can believe this. Senator senior senator was with warned ...
[0:05:17] ... to make many more Americans proud give them a fighting chance who's run for president. Senator Warren we hope you read this country needs. He's. Yes please run blitz you we want to Iran I do know of the country. To see what a phony she is I am and I realize that in on the globe in New York Times will be in the tank but. She gets it for of the mainstream media has to be one or two people might say. Once you pretend to be in India the do you feel bad that you took a job from an actual minority which takes us to. Always bosses piece in the Boston Herald. And the lead is as follows a White House run by US senator Elizabeth Ward would immediately revive and forced the national media. To address her claims of Cherokee heritage and ...

The guys opened the show by discussing the Bruins playoff chances.

[0:00:22] ... It's bad it was one of those lost weakens you for your Boston Bruins who right now are real outside. If you look at the player perspective if you go this. The teams have games and ...
[0:04:49] ... the year. I go back to injuries a second here in this Bill Parcells thing. If you giving team excuse as to why they will lose chances are more often than I am I'm sick and ...
[0:05:32] ... from a little cute but hey if you're a member of the Boston Bruins and take that's why we have that we win some last five games. On the front office was busy working on that ...
[0:11:42] ... it doesn't last. For a if this feels more like Fred treatment Claude Julien it does and when Jack Edwards starts doubting. The that's a bad schoolboy the viability of the Boston Bruins now you know you're in trouble. No but they're the reason I'm not is that with the exception of the aberration and ...

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