NFL Network analyst and former Patriots fullback Heath Evans joined Middays with MFB Thursday to talk about the upcoming Patriots game against the Lions, the signing of LeGarrette Blount and other Patriots matters. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Patriots will be taking on the Lions Sunday at Gillette Stadium with the Lions entering with a 7-3 record and having one of the best defenses in the NFL, allowing a league-low 15.6 points per game. They are led by their front-four, but Evans says they are not a smart group and can be beat.
“The truth is this defensive front gets away with a lot of stupid football because I don’t think there are a lot of great offensive minds that take advantage of dumb defensive line play,” Evans said. “We praise [Ndamukong] Suh for all these different things, but if you compare Suh to J.J. Watt, there’s no comparison in the way that these guys — in the head game — play defensive line. We still see Suh get taken advantage of on scheme plays and really [Kyle Van Noy], I think he’s had a really good year for a younger player that hasn’t played a lot of football, but there’s still a lot of mistakes and I always think it comes back to offensive coaches saying, ‘Hey, yeah they do this well, this well, and this well. They stink and this, this and this, and we’re going to take full advantage of that.’ Do I expect a 45-point showing on this defense, no, but would I be surprised at all if they put up 30? I mean, no, not at all.”
LeGarrette Blount was signed by the Patriots on Thursday after being released by the Steelers Tuesday — the day after walking off the field in the middle of Monday’s game against the Titans because he was upset about playing time.
With Jonas Gray’s monster game last Sunday, some have wondered if Blount will take Gray’s place as the lead back, but Evans doesn’t believe that will be the case, and if Blount causes any issues Bill Belichick will have no problem cutting him.
“I don’t think he’s going to be the guy,” said Evans. “I think they know what he is capable of and I think they also know the knuckle-head that exists in the guy. I think LeGarrette knows well enough the Patriot way doesn’t put up with any of that nonsense, so Pittsburgh shows to deal with it a certain way and they cut him and released him. Obviously you hear the chatter coming out of the locker room and it must have been more significant than the stuff we’ve heard about. You don’t get away with that stuff in New England. However the contract is worded, he messes up once Bill can kick him out the door and not pay him another dime. It doesn’t hurt them financially and you just move on. Players come to New England knowing what to expect — even if they haven’t played there before — but, the truth is LeGarrette has been in house. He knows the rules. He knows the code of conduct that is expected and I assume he will get here and do what he is told to do.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
On why he chose not to see pictures of Adrian Peterson‘s son: “On the picture basis, honestly there was no reason behind it, I just never saw them. People said there was marks on the kids testicles, obviously he pulled his pants down. There were a lot of things that seems like child abuse. Was Adrian raised that way? Probably. Do I know kids that were raised that way? Yeah. Do I know kids that were beat that way, so to speak growing up? Absolutely. Does it make it right? Not a chance.”
On what worries him with the Patriots going forward and overreactions early in the season: “I know the O-line issues earlier in the year. I know after the Kansas City game, Willie McGinest and I were on air basically calling everyone idiots because everyone’s panicking, ‘Oh the Brady era, Bill Belichick era is over and done with.’ I’m like, you people call yourself analysts and it’s honestly disturbing to see what we see on tape and you guys see and feel totally different.
“The only thing that scares me about this team is injuries to the O-line because when Brady has the ability to manipulate protections at the line of scrimmage, change whatever plays he wants at the line of scrimmage, and then ‘¦ when there is protection and guys smart and in-tune enough up front, there is not a lot you can do with this offense. They can beat you in a lot of ways. Bill will probably hate me saying that, but the truth is the truth. We praise [Peyton] Manning and all these other quarterbacks for their phenomenal feats, but people have no clue what Tommy does in and throughout a 60-minute operational system of a game to create the offensive firepower that they create.
“Defensively, you just need timely pressure on quarterbacks and then you need that one or two turnovers a game. If you give ’12’ an extra possession or two down the stretch in big games versus great teams, like Denver or Green Bay or other teams I think have the potential to hang with them, I think you win every game.”