2007 Patriots team far more superior than current Panthers squad.</p>
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While it is unlikely Tom Brady will comment on Roger Goodell’s recent remarks on the NFL doing “spot checks” and not a research study taking PSI readings from footballs in random games over the course of the the 2015 season, his dad is doing the talking for him.

Tom Brady Sr. doesn't know if his son would attend Super Bowl 50. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Tom Brady Sr. doesn’t know if his son will attend Super Bowl 50. (Elsa/Getty Images)

While it is unlikely Tom Brady will comment on Roger Goodell’s recent remarks on the NFL doing “spot checks” and not a research study taking PSI readings from footballs in random games over the course of the the 2015 season, his dad is doing the talking for him.

“What the league did this year was what we do with a lot of rules and policies designed to protect the integrity of the game and that is to create a deterrent effect — that we do spot checks to prevent and make sure the clubs understand that we’€™re watching these issues,” Goodell said on The Rich Eisen Show Tuesday. “It wasn’€™t a research study. They simply were spot checks.”

Goodell didn’t say if the league would be releasing the data.

“That’s laughable. It’s just laughable,” Brady Sr. said in an interview with Christopher Gasper of The Boston Globe. “I don’t unfortunately think it was in the league’s best interest to release something that exonerated Tom. All the rest of it is nonsense. It’s air.”

It’s been a long year for both Brady and his family. The quarterback’s dad wished it would have ended differently on the field.

“It’s been a crazy, difficult year. It’s disappointing we didn’t cap it off in Santa Clara,” Brady Sr. said.

As tough as the year has been on everyone, Brady Sr. said he and his wife are trying to not let it affect them on a day-to-day basis.

“My wife and I have decided as it affected us last year, we’re not going to let it affect us moving forward,” he said. “We’re trying to forgive an obvious plastering of our son’s reputation. We’re trying to say, you know what, forgive and forget. As a Christian, it is eating me up inside. It ate my wife up. It’s had to do. It’s easy to be bitter.”

As of Wednesday night, Brady Sr. did not know if his son would attend Super Bowl 50, as part of the NFL honoring the previous Super Bowl MVPs.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Deflategate is back in the news this week as Roger Goodell said the NFL conducted “spot checks,” not a research study this season when testing PSIs at random games this season.

Deflategate is back in the news this week as Roger Goodell said the NFL conducted “spot checks,” not a research study this season when testing PSIs at random games this season. Goodell said there were no violations and didn’t make any comments on whether or not the league would release any data from the checks.

Wednesday night, appearing on Sirius XM radio, vice president of NFL officiating Dean Blandino was asked about the testing and he said the league is still “evaluating” the information collected.

“We did spot checks throughout the year and we measured PSI levels and recorded that information,” Blandino said. “Right now we’re evaluating the information. We didn’t have any violations this year, but again, we’re still in that evaluation phase to look at the information and then we’ll see what that tells us.”

This topic is likely to continue over the next few days, as Goodell gives his state of the league address and takes questions on Friday afternoon.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Rob Gronkowski is considered the most dangerous tight end in football. (Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski is considered the most dangerous tight end in football. (Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO — Rob Gronkowski is widely considered the most dangerous tight end in football. He’s also the biggest nightmare for a defensive back assigned to cover him, especially when he’s split wide from the line of scrimmage.

Hall of Fame corner Mike Haynes covered his share of great receivers in his day but rarely, if ever, a tight end in a game.

But in practice, that was a different story.

“I can’t ever remember ever playing being locked on a tight end,” Haynes told WEEI.com Wednesday at Super Bowl media headquarters. “But I did lock on Russ Francis in practice. They were trying to simulate some of the challenges he was going to face. I know how difficult that can be. I wouldn’t be welcoming that kind of challenge because of the weight difference, the height difference, the strength difference. And generally when you’re covering a guy like that size, if he turns around and looks at the quarterback, I can no longer see the quarterback because of his height and his width. It’s a challenge.”

But for as much as Patriots fans remember the hey-dey of Russ Francis and catching passes from Steve Grogan as a traditional tight end, there’s another former tight end Haynes thinks of as a comp to the 6-foot-6, 265-pound Rob Gronkowski: Don Hasselbeck, who stood an inch taller than Gronk but weighed 20 pounds less.

“It wasn’t something I had to do on a regular basis and I wouldn’t have been looking forward to do that on a regular basis. I actually think that Gronk is more built like Hasselbeck was than Russ Francis,” Haynes said. “He’s tall and a long-strider. A lot of times I wonder if they had used Don Hasselbeck the same way they use Gronkowski, what would he have been like? They didn’t. It was a different game in those days.”

Hasselbeck finished with 107 catches, 1,542 yards and 18 touchdowns in his nine-year NFL career that began in 1977 when he was selected in the second round by the Patriots. For some perspective, Gronkowski nearly had as many receiving touchdowns (17) in 2011 as Hasselbeck did for his career. Hasselbeck finished with 15 TD receptions in his six-plus seasons in New England.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Bill Belichick can look to the Broncos and Panthers for some points of emphasis this offseason.</p>
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SAN FRANCISCO — According to one Hall of Fame cornerback, the sky is the limit for Malcolm Butler.

Mike Haynes was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times and eventually found his way to Canton as one of the best cornerbacks of the 1970s and 80s.

Malcolm Butler was selected for his first career Pro Bowl. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Malcolm Butler was selected for his first career Pro Bowl. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO — According to one Hall of Fame cornerback, the sky is the limit for Malcolm Butler.

Mike Haynes was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times and eventually found his way to Canton as one of the best cornerbacks of the 1970s and 80s.

And what he saw in second-year defensive back Malcolm Butler this year makes him think that great things are ahead for the No. 1 corner on the Patriots. What impressed Haynes the most is how, after his Super Bowl-saving interception in Glendale, Butler only improved his game this season, earning the first of what could be many Pro Bowl selections.

“The secondary seemed to play very good. Malcolm Butler, after that Super Bowl, that put his name on the map and he knew the world was watching,” Haynes told WEEI.com. “He had a fantastic year. As far as I’m concerned, he had a really great year. He should be really proud about what he accomplished. It’s just too bad what happened in Denver. I was surprised by that.”

The defense was the strength of the team down the stretch, something that was very apparent to Haynes. But Haynes felt the bitter disappointment all Patriots fans did when the Broncos held on for a 20-18 win in the AFC championship.

“I thought that they had a fantastic year,” Haynes said. “I actually figured that they were going to go to the Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl. I was really optimistic about that happening. In a hostile environment and all that. I don’t know if the altitude played a factor but it can.

“It sometimes played a factor, especially with the style of play, with a lot of passing, a lot of getting back to huddle and hurry-up offense. Yeah, I think it does play a role. I was a little miffed about the way the offensive line wasn’t able to protect Brady. To me, that was the difference in the game.”

Not surprisingly, Haynes credits Bill Belichick for the development of Butler. But what did raise an eyebrow was Haynes’ admission that, even as great as he was, he, like Darrelle Revis, might have trouble assimilating into the Belichick system as a veteran.

“I would not want to play for him if say I was a ten-year vet, as a corner because I would like to come in with his type of knowledge and his kind of influence on my thinking rather than already have my thinking and try to change it after ten years,” Haynes said. “And that’s what Malcolm Butler has, that’s what all the DBs there have right now. They’re a young secondary. They’re learning the right way. They’re just going to get better.

“One of the things I have always appreciated was how smart the defensive players were, and really both sides of the ball. If they were to sign a player in the middle of the week and he came in on a Thursday, I believe everybody in that huddle could tell that guy what his job is, what he’s supposed to do. I think that’s rare in the NFL. But that’s one of the things that makes those guys special and they can move around and do different things and know it. They can help each other out. It would’ve been fun to play to him.

“I think it’s just harder to make a transition if you’re not used to that. But if you learn a certain way, then that’s the way you’re going to learn and that’s the way it’s natural for you. I just think he’s a brilliant guy. The information they share with the players gets them ready for a game. There’s not a lot times I would expect they would be surprised with what the other team is doing. They always seem prepared.”

Haynes, now 62, is a prostate cancer survivor and is using Super Bowl 50 week to promote his effort to raise awareness of the disease among men, get checked for it and to get informed through the site knowyourstats.org.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The Patriots had seven players make the Pro Bowl and all seven didn’t attend the game.