Greg and Chris talk more offseason happenings with the Pats and their plans. They talk about some of the free agents toward the bottom of the list with Stevan Ridley and Dan Connolly. Price thinks that Connolly could end up back with the Pats and Ridley elsewhere (Cowboys?), but Greg thinks they both could be back. They also chat about the departure of VInce Wilfork and what he meant to the organization, the re-signing of McCourty and more.

[0:05:24] ... San Diego Stevie Johnson was brought up. Now we hear names like Greg Jennings is sort out their put the bit a number of wide receivers. Who bring connected potentially with the patriots what do you ...
[0:12:15] ... I wanna talk what do you won't shut up quit awhile Bob Vince Wilfork and so happy to events that he's a solid Houston. Bella is absolutely the best prepared on the Gembara care. That was ...
[0:13:09] ... with him in it was destined to do what it. What is Vince Wilfork Evernote on all the delta but I have an ideal world I'd never CI OS you have never seen but it of ...





The very first airing of the offseason edition of NFL Sunday gets underway with Greg and Chris delving into the free agency period and how the Pats made out. Of course they lost Revis to the Jets, but what else went on? Greg isn't over the loss of Revis yet and the guys discuss what went into that whole ordeal. Price is looking forward to the additions of Chandler and Cadet. They also get a call from Mike Petraglia and get his thoughts on the Pats offseason moves.

[0:20:47] ... the years. Whether it's do we government is seventh round pick withered Rob Ninkovich as a as an all this free agent pickup. You know those guys are few and far between but they've been able ...



WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Dorial Green-Beckham (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Dorial Green-Beckham has the size and speed of an NFL receiver, but his off-field issues raise concerns. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

DORIAL GREEN-BECKHAM

Position: Wide receiver

School: Missouri/Oklahoma

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 225 pounds

Achievements: 2012 Freshman All-America honorable mention

What he brings: Green-Beckham’s greatest asset is his size. His 6-foot-6 frame makes him one of the tallest receivers available in the draft. He also is praised for his great speed and sure hands. Many experts and scouts would like to see more strength on the line of scrimmage. The main concern is his off-the-field issues. He was suspended twice by Missouri following marijuana-related arrests, and was released by the team after allegedly pushing a female student down a flight of stairs. Before Green-Beckham entered college, scout Tom Lemming called him “the best high school wide receiver since Randy Moss.”

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2

Notes: Green-Beckham did not play in 2014 after his dismissal from Missouri. He enrolled at Oklahoma but never played a game for the Sooners. In 2013 as a sophomore, he had 59 receptions for 883 yards and 12 touchdowns. ESPN lists him as the seventh wide receiver and 31st overall in the draft.

Related articles:

Bleacher Report: Green-Beckham could be elite WR in NFL

Columbia Tribune: Green-Beckham’s draft stock unclear

Video: Green-Beckham makes six receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns against Auburn in December 2013.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler
The Patriots and Ravens might end up going to the mattresses this week over the concept of unbalanced lines. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Patriots and Ravens might end up going to the mattresses this week over the concept of unbalanced lines. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

1. From this viewpoint, the talk from the competition committee this week about potentially outlawing the unbalanced line that flummoxed the Ravens in the divisional playoff contest tastes distinctly like sour grapes. But then again, it’s really nothing new: Almost a dozen years after Bill Polian and the Colts griped to the league about New England’s defensive tactics in the 2003 AFC postseason, the rest of the NFL is again trying to squeeze New England. This time, it’s a proposed rules change that would state, in part, if a player declares ineligible and lines up outside the tackle, he will be penalized 5 yards for illegal formation. Rams coach Jeff Fisher, a member of the competition committee, said this week when asked about the tactic, “Unless we had some guidelines in place, this thing may get out of hand.” But it’s no coincidence the Ravens web site took great relish in pointing out that the competition committee would be looking at the “ineligible receiver trick” performed by the Patriots this week at the league meetings. Baltimore clearly has its fingerprints all over this proposal, and as a result, it will be interesting to see if there’s any fallout between the two teams from what happened in the playoffs. Despite some occasional asides between players, the two franchises have always maintained a healthy respect for each other, with Bill Belichick and John Harbaugh professing their admiration for each other on several occasions. That wasn’t always the case between the Colts and Patriots, particularly when Polian was in charge in Indy. (It’s no coincidence that since he’s been in charge of the Patriots, the Colts are one of the few teams Belichick has never made a trade with.) Regardless of who might get their feelings hurt. if you’re a Patriots fan, it’s important to note that the year after the new rules were in place, New England ended up finishing off the second-half of back-to-back championships. We’ve said several times over the last six months that the 2014 Patriots were very reminiscent of the 2003 team, right down to the Super Bowl title. Now, the current edition has its own opportunity to overcome a rules-based roadblock instituted by a deposed conference rival. Only time will tell how New England responds.

2. Speaking of rules changes, the Patriots pushed for a few last year, and appear to be interested in doing the same thing again this week. There’s the idea of having cameras on the goal line — something Bill Belichick has been an advocate for (at least publicly) for nearly 10 years. (Asked last year how the league would pay for the additional technology, Belichick shrugged. “Maybe we could have a bake sale. Raise some money for the cameras. Do a car wash.”) And then, there’s the idea that every play should be reviewable. Belichick talked about his reasoning for the idea at last year’s meetings Orlando. “I’m not proposing more challenges. All I’m saying is, as a coach, if you want to challenge a play, I think you should be able to challenge it,” he said flatly. “And why does it have to be limited to, I don’t know, there’s four or five pages in the rules book of plays that can be challenged, and now this year there are more proposals to amend that probably because of one or two plays that happened in the league last year. I think eventually, each year, there’s going to be some other circumstance, situation that comes up and we’re going to want to add that. I mean it’s four to five pages of plays that challenge procedure. Every year it gets amended and it’s hard to keep it straight.”

3. In addition to the proposed rules changes, some other interesting league matters are also on the docket at the league meetings this week, including the annual announcement of compensatory picks. The league uses an abstract formula to determine compensatory picks, one that includes total free agents gained and lost the previous offseason, as well as how those players performed with their new teams. A team can receive a maximum of four picks, and they could fall anywhere between the end of the third round and the end of the seventh round. Last year, the Patriots received one compensatory pick, a fourth-rounder. Going forward, New England might be in line for at least one more pick: Last offseason, New England lost a host of players in free agency, including running back LeGarrette Blount, linebackers Brandon Spikes and Dane Fletcher and cornerback Aqib Talib. However, the Patriots also gained cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. (For those of you who might think compensatory picks are relatively small potatoes, it’s worth reminding folks that quarterback Tom Brady was selected with a compensatory pick in the 2000 draft.)

4. While there’s been a ton of movement when it comes to the names at the top of the Patriots’ own free-agent board, it’s been relatively quiet for three of their remaining free agents. While New England has retained Devin McCourty, but lost Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Vince Wilfork and Shane Vereen (among others), offensive lineman Dan Connolly, running back Stevan Ridley and long snapper Danny Aiken are all in holding patterns, at least at this point. According to our pal Ian Rapoport, Connolly has had some suitors, but nothing has developed. In addition, other than an occasional Twitter or Instagram post here and there, things are quiet around Ridley, who continues to work his way back from an October knee injury. (His name has been mentioned in connection with a running back opening in Dallas — it would certainly make sense for a Cowboys team that wouldn’t likely pay him more than a one-year “show-me” deal because of the knee problem. He’d also likely get plenty of chances to win the job of No. 1 back with DeMarco Murray now out of the picture.) And while league sources say Aiken would like to return to Foxboro, he could see how the market develops for specialists as the spring continues.

5. Despite the fact that they have every member of their receiving corps slated to return in 2015 — and are expected to get Aaron Dobson back after a season-ending injury — the Patriots attempted courtship of free agent wide receiver Stevie Johnson is an indication they’re still interested in continuing to build depth at the receiver spot and create some competition at the position going into next season. As a result, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them go after one of the veteran receivers still on the market as a way to augment what the Patriots already have. From this viewpoint, there are a handful of names out there who New England might be inclined to kick the tires on, including Hakeem Nicks, Reggie Wayne and Greg Jennings. (We broke down Nicks as a possible addition for the Patriots here, while we’ve also been a supporter of Wayne in the past.) None of this is to suggest that any one of them would be able to be a dominant pass catcher with New England — only that it might be worth considering them as possibilities as depth additions for a team interested in bolstering its depth between now and the start of training camp.

6. One of the biggest takeaways from the Jabaal Sheard conference call with reporters on Friday was the fact that he was familiar with the Patriots as a result of the pre-draft process in 2011. He described his trip to Foxboro as a college prospect, and he touched on the getting-to-know-you process that almost all players of that age go through in that situation. It should serve as a reminder that not all pre-draft visits are about gauging the worth of the player as a prospect who could help out immediately, but also as intel for a possible free-agent scenario. Ultimately, just because a player comes through on a visit doesn’t mean that the Patriots are going to chase after them come draft weekend. Instead, the information gleaned from that sit-down can come in handy down the road when it comes to deciding what sort of talents they could eventually bring to the system if they become available later in their careers as a free agent.

7. On paper, there are a lot of really good young teams who have done well building their roster through the initial stages of free agency, but still have some questions at the quarterback position. From this viewpoint, one of the reasons those teams who are continuing to build through the draft and free agency might be content to sit and wait with a “placeholder” at quarterback for 2015 is that there could be an impressive group of signal-callers on the market next spring. While some have options and some are reportedly continuing to negotiate new deals with their current teams, it’s a staggering list that includes Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, San Bradford, Cam Newton, Nick Foles, Ryan Tannehill and Robert Griffin III. (Ben Roethlisberger was also part of this list before he recently re-upped with the Steelers.) Some of them will inevitably be signed to new contracts between now and March — and it will be interesting to see how much each one of them gets from their team as the market continues to set itself. But in a quarterback-driven league, there are plenty of teams who might be content to sit and wait with a journeyman at quarterback this year while banking on making a run at a marquee sign-caller next spring as the final piece of the puzzle.

8. With the offseason in full swing, here’s a look at some key upcoming dates on the calendar, as viewed through a New England prism:

Sunday: The second day of a two-day veterans combine, the first such get-together of its kind, held in Arizona. Several former Patriots received an invite in hopes of landing a new gig, including defensive lineman Marcus Forston and quarterbacks Mike Kafka and Zac Robinson.

Sunday-Wednesday: Annual Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona. One of the first times in the offseason  Belichick and owner Robert Kraft address the media. If they do speak with reporters, expect them to be quizzed about a number if topics, including the free agent losses of Revis, Browner and Vince Wilfork.

April 6: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2014 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.

April 20: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs. This is usually around the time when the Patriots have media availability with veterans who might be in the area.

April 30-May 2: 2014 NFL Draft, Chicago. Expect a few Patriots execs to make the trip to Chicago for the draft, but as always, the majority of the front office will stick in Foxboro.

9. The list of notable pro days for the upcoming week — Monday: Iowa, North Carolina State. Tuesday: Iowa State, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas. Wednesday: Duke, Kansas, Nevada, Rice, SMU, South Dakota State, Tennessee. Thursday: Houston, Tulane, Utah. Friday: BYU, LSU, TCU.

10. Two of the nicer guys in the New England locker room received hometown this week, as Malcolm Butler and Jonas Gray received some hometown kudos. Butler, the Super Bowl hero who is continuing a whirlwind offseason, was feted with a “Malcolm Butler Day” at his alma mater, the University of West Alabama. (Butler, who has appeared at the Grammys and Disneyland, also got a hometown parade in Vicksburg, Miss., last month.) Meanwhile, Gray received the key to the city in Pontiac, Mich., this past week. Gray took to Instagram to record his feelings: “Speechless…A young kid who grew up with a single mom in the inner city with big dreams! One of those achievements in my life that truly no one can ever take away from me and my family. The KEY to the City Of #Pontiac. Born and raised here and will continue to put the city on the map! Happy I was able to share it with my two best friends.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Dante Fowler Jr. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

A second-team All-American in 2014, Dante Fowler Jr. is one of the top linebackers in the draft. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

DANTE FOWLER JR.

Position: Outside linebacker

School: Florida

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 277 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-America second team, 2014 All-SEC first team, 2014 team MVP, 2013 All-SEC second team, College Football News All-Sophomore team, 2012 SEC All-Freshman first team

What he brings: Fowler has experience playing multiple positions and filling various roles, and he was successful doing all of them. Scouts note his ability to use his size and bulk to shed blockers, as well as his athleticism, which helps him in run defense. Some experts and scouts are concerned that he will take some time adjusting to whatever role he is given in the NFL, but versatility is considered one of his strengths and he is expected to settle in and become very effective. An AFC East scout told NFL.com that Fowler will be “way better in his pros than what he is now.”

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1

Notes: Fowler finished his 2014 junior season with 57 tackles and 5.5 sacks. CBSSports.com lists him as the top outside linebacker and fourth overall in the draft. He did not miss a game in college.

Related articles:

Orlando Sentinel: Fowler’s draft stock on the rise

Video: Fowler records six tackles and a sack against Kentucky in September 2014.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Cameron Erving (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Cameron Erving has a reputation as a standout run blocker who is not as strong protecting in the passing game. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

CAMERON ERVING

Position: Center

School: Florida State

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 308 pounds

Achievements: 2014 Jacobs Blocking Trophy for best blocker in ACC, All-ACC, 2013 Jacobs Blocking Trophy, 2013 All-America first team, 2013 All-ACC first team

What he brings: Erving is seen as one of the best run blockers in the draft, but scouts are not as impressed with his ability to protect the pass. He started his career as a tackle and switched to center in the middle of the 2014 season. He is considered very athletic for his size and has the ability to make blocks in the second level. However, there are concerns that his legs are not as strong as his upper body, which could hinder his ability to handle quick, strong defensive linemen.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2

Notes: ESPN.com ranks Erving as the best center and 20th overall in the draft. He missed the 2010 season with a back injury but started every game his last two seasons with the Seminoles.

Related articles:

NFL.com: Erving among top performers at combine

Video: Here are Erving’s highlights from FSU’s November 2014 game against Miami.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler
We talk to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News about his column today which basically accuses the Patriots of sour grapes for asking the league to enforce their own rules against tampering.

[0:08:09] ... I get that out of the way. Saul was it petty of Eric Mangini in the jets to report at them. What about that giving it eight constricted damage and gained a look if you think ...
[0:10:15] ... the last time there was that a tampering case in the NFL Lance Briggs. The San Francisco 49ers in the Chicago Bears swapped third round draft picks not seventh round as you suggested. Third round draft ...
[0:12:41] ... direction and. Nowadays right at your life into wanna talk about the Lance Briggs punishment a wider to wanna just gloss over that wanna go to the other. Big. Can you say it inaccurately that let out a OK correct there was one in between Iraq and if you want to look at the most recent example I think that I think that we can agree that that's probably a fair barometer the most recent example pepper. That I would just go based on that framework I don't I don't think it's anymore parent and the Lance Briggs case. Look at and I had a little bit in the recent can't bring issue I don't he's out. Actually debatable the ...
[0:15:42] ... how I was told to do with eighteen years ago by a Kansas City Chiefs scout I tried it but I didn't think it helped us. I know for a fact there were various teams doing best ...






Scott Chandler is ready to begin a new career in New England. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Scott Chandler is ready to begin a new career in New England. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Scott Chandler knows the situation he’s in coming to Foxboro. He leaves Buffalo where he was clearly the best pass-catching tight end in the Bills’ offense and comes to New England where he will be the second-most recognizable tight end behind Rob Gronkowski.

During a conference call Friday, Chandler called Bill Belichick a straight shooter.

Did Belichick lay out to him what it will mean to be the second tight end in a potent offense behind Rob Gronkowski?

“We didn’€™t get into that too terribly much,” Chandler said. “I think what I want to do is be part of a team that’€™s a winning team. Whatever that role that the coaches define for me there, I want to do whatever I can to help the team win.

“I’€™ve talked to Rob on the field after games and that’€™s about it. I’€™m sure we’€™ll get to know each other and get along well. He seems like a fun guy to be around. Obviously he’€™s a great player. I’€™m looking forward to being able to learn from him and watch him do his thing. He’€™s pretty fun to watch.”

Chandler, like Gronk, is a tall tight end, at 6-foot-7, and – like Gronk – could provide more blocking along the offensive line as he has developed that part of his game.

“I think it’€™s one of those things that it can be tough, but I’€™ve been dealing with it for a while now,” Chandler added. “You learn to sink or swim pretty quick in this league. You want to do whatever you can to get low and stay low. It’€™s hard, but you learn how to deal with it because if you can’€™t get the job done, they’€™re going to find someone else.”

Chandler, who signed a two-year, $5.3 million contract on March 13, will be more than happy to make some personal sacrifices to attain more team glory. In five non-playoff seasons in Buffalo, Chandler caught 17 touchdowns, including 28 catches on 42 targets and four touchdowns in nine games against the Patriots.

“I think you go into a game just wanting to do what it takes for your team to win and sometimes that means catching the ball and sometimes that means blocking well,” Chandler said. “I’€™ve probably had games that I didn’€™t have very good stats, but they were some of my better games throughout my career. It just so happened that in those games I needed to catch the ball a little bit and I was able to do that.”

Belichick can trust that Chandler has been taught well. Before playing for the Bills, he played his college ball under Belichick’s good friend and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz.

“Coach Ferentz had a big impact; just getting a different type of coach than I had in high school,” Chandler said. “In high school we were running the spread offense and throwing the ball every play and you get to Coach Ferentz and he runs a very pro-type program there. You’€™re laid out what’€™s expected of you and you’€™re expected to carry that out. If you’€™re not, you’€™re not going to play. I really appreciate that approach. He tells you what you need to do to get on the field. I was able to go there and have a successful career. Obviously he’€™s built a great program there. I know he and Coach [Bill] Belichick have a lot in common in the way they approach coaching. I’€™m excited to get in and deal with Coach Belichick.”

Chandler explained how the relationship between Ferentz and Belichick might help him in New England.

“I think Coach Belichick is a real straightforward guy,” Chandler said. “I haven’€™t had too much interaction with him, but from what I’€™ve heard, he’€™s just a guy who is going to tell it like it is. That’€™s an approach that after bouncing around and sometimes you have guys who beat around the bush and don’€™t tell you really what’€™s going on, but Coach Belichick seems to do that. That’€™s an approach that you can appreciate as a vet.”

By all reports, the battle for free agent Chandler came down to the Ravens and Patriots. Chandler said Friday he was pretty much in a no-lose situation.

“I think I was a in a pretty good spot,” he said. “They’€™re two really good organizations. That’€™s really what it came down to. I’€™ve been playing for a while and I wanted to be a part of an organization that has a pretty good chance to win. Mr. Kraft has done an amazing job of not only creating that ‘€“ and Coach Belichick has a pretty big hand in that ‘€“ not only creating it, but sustaining it for a long period of time. I’€™m looking forward to going into this year and doing whatever I can to be a part of that.

“I think that comes down to the organization that Mr. [Robert] Kraft has set up here. It’€™s been a top-flight organization since I’€™ve been playing for sure, and longer than that. I think that was a big factor, was just going to a good organization.

“I think if you get into those kind of things, you end up making this game more about you and really it’€™s about the team. I just want to come in and do what I can to be a part of the Patriot culture and just do my part. I don’€™t really want to get into those feelings of vengeance or anything because they’€™re not really there for me. I had a great five years in Buffalo and it’€™s time for me to be a Patriot now.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Pass rusher Jabaal Sheard joins the Patriots via Cleveland. (Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Pass rusher Jabaal Sheard joins the Patriots via Cleveland. (Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

He signed as a free agent with the Patriots last week, but Jabaal Sheard has been on New England’s radar for a long time.

The Patriots’ interest in the edge rusher dates back to 2011 when he was coming out of college. That’s when he took a visit with New England, and in that time, he was struck by how the Patriots handled their business.

“It was real business-like, real focused; you could tell that it was going to be all business once you get there,” he said Friday on a conference call with reporters. “I mean, it was a bit nerve-wrecking, I can’t lie. I was a bit nervous.”

That previous visit — combined with Sheard’s background with former Browns GM Mike Lombardi, who is now with the Patriots — set the stage nicely for him signing with New England earlier this month as a free agent.

Sheard, who also drew interest from Seattle and Tampa Bay, said his stint with Lombardi “definitely” play a role in his new deal with the Patriots.

“I think that was huge. I think that’s what got New England interested in me right away,” Sheard said. “Obviously, he believed in me coming out as a rookie into the league and seeing what I could do. I think that’s going to translate to this year.”

One thing the Patriots hope translates is an ability to consistently get after the quarterback. Sheard’s pass rush numbers have dipped every year he’s been in the league, going from 8.5 sacks as a rookie in 2011 to two last year. Sheard pulled no punches when asked to assess his game the last few years: It wasn’t a switch in Cleveland’s scheme or injury, but his own level of execution.

“It was just me not executing, me not sticking to the game plan,” he said. “But I’m more focused; I’m hungrier than I’ve ever been. Like I said, I look forward to getting with these coaches and learning new things. Pass rushing is about learning new things, getting comfortable and coaches helping you out along the way. I just can’t wait to get started.”

The 25-year-old Sheard has played both outside linebacker and defensive end, and said Friday he feels like he “can play anywhere up front.”

He added: “I think my main strength is knocking guys back and creating penetration in the line of scrimmage, ultimately stopping the run and being a big factor there and getting after the quarterback or dropping, whatever else may come with it. Ultimately my strength, personally I think, is knocking guys back and creating penetration.”

Sheard is also looking forward to enjoying a level of consistency in New England that wasn’t necessarily there in Cleveland.

“I envision that they have some great plan for me, just knowing the system that they run,” he said of the Patriots coaching staff. “I’ve been around three different systems in my last three years so I’m ready for whatever. I’m always ready to embrace something new and something different and I’m up for the challenge, whatever it is.”

“I definitely look forward to working with Chandler [Jones] and Rob [Ninkovich]. Those guys are definitely excited, just talking to them a little bit. I think we’ll make a nice three-[man] tandem. We’ll get after guys and create a lot of [havoc] in the backfield and on quarterbacks.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The latest edition of the “It Is What It Is” podcast has Chris Price and Mike Petraglia talking about the Patriots offseason, the draft and where the team goes from here. Give a listen HERE.

Blog Author: 
WEEI