Tag Archives: England

New England Patriots to sign QB Tim Tebow

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Source: Behind the Steel Curtain - All Posts

Not so fast on Emmanuel Sanders to New England

When we passed along the report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette saying Emmanuel Sanders had signed an offer sheet with the Patriots, we noted that there was no information about the terms of Sanders’ offer sheet, and that no other media outlets had confirmed the report. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, there’s a good reason forR...

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers

Emmanuel Sanders meeting with New England Patriots

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Source: Behind the Steel Curtain - All Posts

AFC Championship 2013: Upstart Ravens head back to New England for repeat of conference title game

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Source: Behind the Steel Curtain - All Posts

BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 31 — New England Patriots Select Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

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Thanks go to VinnySteel for completing his two-part turn in the mind of Bill Belichick and graciously allowing me to intrude upon his vacation. Now there's just one pick left to go! Last up: the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants and they'll be represented by Pittsblitz56.

By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

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So, here we go again... just when I thought I was done - they pull me back in! ... like Bill Parcells. (Almost.)

But this pick is really about another Bill - a Parcells disciple who has far exceeded his one-time mentor. Mr. Belichick, of course, has built much of his success through the draft, a point well emphasized by Rebecca Rollett in her piece a couple of days ago about Kevin Colbert's prowess in doing the same. Unlike the Steelers however, he has become famous for wheeling and dealing considerably, having traded down or out of the first round in each of the last five drafts - including doing so twice each in both 2009 and 2010.

As such, there's much speculation and maybe it's even a foregone conclusion that this pick at this point will likely not happen for the New England Patriots. Most New England bloggers and fans out there seem to think they will attempt to trade their second 1st round pick to a pick-needy team for a first round pick in 2013, thus setting them up with the option to repeat the process for yet another year. A partner that seems to be mentioned more than once when considering this scenario is Jacksonville. Year to year, who knows what Belichick will do? He's traded out and then back into the first round in the same draft, for goodness sakes!

As such, there feels like more of a "poetic license", if you will, with this pick. If it's unlikely to be made, then the options of what would be done with it become much more wide. It isn't a throw off - and the Patriots could stun the world and actually use both of them - but regardless, it definitely becomes completely a "best player available" scenario as it feels almost like a "bonus" pick. So this time around, I felt there were lots of options:

Janoris Jenkins - In this case, he's definitely among the BPA, and New England has taken troubled players down the straight and narrow before (see: Randy Moss). But taking a first round risk on a guy with that many red flags is likely a little too much. Plus, he still hasn't done anything in the NFL. Moss was proven when he came to the Patriots.

Vontaze Burfict - See Janoris Jenkins, above. Plus, he might be crazy.

There are several offensive line prospects left at this point, but I just feel the Patriots already prepared well for Matt Light's retirement. Switching Nate Solder to the other side and moving Marcus Cannon with Sebastian Vollmer coming back on board gives them a bevy of high picks on the line as it is. I don't believe they would be open to drafting a lineman here unless he was extraordinary, and I don't feel any of those that are left really are.

So I went with something of a surprise...

With the 31st pick in the 2012 draft, the New England Patriots select Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford.

Okay - so forget all that stuff I said about defense in my last pick. Belichick doesn't care. He breaks convention faster than FBI agents at the Hotel Caribe and has only slightly better scruples.

And yes, they already have two incredible tight ends. But Fleener is 6'6", 247 and runs a 4.46-4.57. He's virtually a wide receiver anyway. His best routes are the deep seams and he exploited them well as evidenced by his just under twenty yards per reception last season (19.62). He had 34 of those receptions for 667 yards and ten touchdowns last year. Teams will shy away from him because he had the ankle injury - sort of like what happened with Heath Miller when he fell to us. But Fleener is faster than Miller and just as good a blocker as Miller was when he came out of college.

Yes, defense makes sense here too. But if you think about it, if the Patriots had a third incredible tight end - not only would they have scored even more points last year, they also would not have missed a healthy Gronk as much as they did in the Super Bowl. If Courtney Upshaw produces for them in the pass rush on defense, then just one more ridiculously impossible to cover option for Tom Brady might just be too much for the rest of the NFL to over come. Even when considering the whooping that we put on them - would Keenan Lewis or Cortez Allen or any of our cornerbacks handled him as easily as they did Deion Branch? Would it have changed the outcome of that game? Would the AFC Championship had been as close, considering Baltimore didn't exactly have a stellar secondary? With another touchdown on the board, Brady is fully in clock-killing mode by the 4th quarter and a player like Fleener could be the kind of player to make something like that happen.

Plus, Fleener is intelligent and will adjust and easily learn the crazy wrinkles that three high-caliber tight ends could produce.

Bottom line is if Belichick were forced to make this pick, he'd want to be certain he was upgrading the team. Fleener definitely would not be there at their next pick, and Belichick absolutely elevates his team by nabbing him here. If he stays healthy and the Patriots are able to be as creative as his potential allows them to be, they may (for the time being) kill the theory that "defense wins championships", much to the chilled chagrin of true Steelers fans.

BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:

  1. Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
  2. Washington Redskins -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
  3. Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
  4. Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
  6. St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
  7. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
  8. Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
  9. Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
  10. Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
  11. Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
  12. Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
  13. Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
  14. Dallas Cowboys -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
  15. Philadelphia Eagles -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
  16. New York Jets -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
  17. Cincinnati Bengals -- Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia
  18. San Diego Chargers -- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
  19. Chicago Bears -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
  20. Tennessee Titans -- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
  21. Cincinnati Bengals -- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
  22. Cleveland Browns -- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
  23. Detroit Lions -- Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
  24. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
  25. Denver Broncos -- Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
  26. Houston Texans -- Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
  27. New England Patriots -- Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
  28. Green Bay Packers -- Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State
  29. Baltimore Ravens -- Devon Still, DT, Penn State
  30. San Francisco 49ers -- Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 27 — New England Patriots Select Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama


*** Discuss this article and more at our Pittsburgh Steelers forum ***


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We get to hear from someone that's not me! Thanks go to VinnySteel for fulfilling the first appearance that our friends from Foxborough will make in the 1st round this year. Next up: Green Bay Packers and they'll be represented by barnerburner (jeez... not him again).

By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

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So, as a Steelers fan representing what is likely our collective 2nd most hated franchise, I was tempted to want to spend their first round draft choice on a kicker. Any kicker. No, scratch that. I'd like them to be a really bad kicker with off-the-field substance abuse issue and suspected ties to a terrorist cell or two.

The problem is, it wouldn't matter. Somehow, some way, Belichick would figure out some strange unknown skill set for the guy and use him successfully in "the system." And even if he were a bust - do you really think the New England Patriots will not figure out some way to have two first round picks next year? Since 1990, they've managed to head into the draft with two first rounders seven times.They've only used both of these picks four times, most recently in 2004 where they selected Vince Wilfork and Ben Watson. Of course, when you're New England, you have to be doubly prepared. You could miss on the pick... or you could get caught and have one (only one) taken away by the league... but I digress.

The point is if they mess up with their pick, they'll still have more opportunities than anyone to make up for it. Of course, if they keep him, he'll marry a supermodel.

Before I get to the pick - one more piece of extraneous fluff: I live in Pittsburgh. Ironically, I am on my family vacation starting today and I'm writing this from none other than Boston, Massachusetts. When I signed up, I had no idea it would work out that I would be physically present in the city the team represents at the precise moment I "drafted". The planets are truly aligning for this pick...

With the 27th pick in the 2012 draft, the New England Patriots select... Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, University of Alabama.

There probably is no better proof that the Patriots are a system-oriented team than the fact that it would probably be a great challenge to find a team that made it all the way to the Super Bowl, played competitively, and yet could probably draft any defensive position and it would be in some way a position of need. Truly remarkable that they accomplished all they did last year with their defensive roster.

Most pundits say New England came within a "dropped Wes Welker pass" of winning the Super Bowl. However, I think it's more accurate to say they were a Rob Gronkowski injury away from doing so. Either way, the point is that the Patriots nearly won the Super Bowl even with mistakes and significant injuries on offense. The offense doesn't need any help, not in the first round anyway. They've prepared well for Matt Light's retirement. So, an offensive line pick is unlikely.

However, the greatest of the defensive needs would be the lack of consistent pass rush.

It's interesting to note, however, that the Patriots actually had more sacks last season (40) than the Steelers (35). Our dramatic fall was due to injuries, but not so for New England. They just did not have the personnel to do it. This was really evident in the playoffs and Super Bowl.

At 6'2" and 265 pounds, Upshaw is a lot of man. While not the laterally quickest player, he is a ferocious in-line bull rusher with great flexibility and instinct. In 13 games last season, he registered 8.5 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, 17 tackles for loss - but he only had 56 tackles total! And he did this against college football's toughest competition. He simply has a great nose for the ball and the strength and agility to break through any wall to get there.

One other perk is that he played a hybrid end-backer at Alabama and will adjust readily to a similar system in New England.

In most mocks I've read, Upshaw is going around 16th or 17th overall. Many others have him going right here where I've picked him. Those that have him going later have New England picking a defensive player that is already off the board in our mock. That's the problem with doing a mock with Steelers fans: "Offense? Who needs offense? ... Isn't that what rounds 4-6 are for?" In all likelihood, New England will have a few more defensive options on the table than our mock has given them. However, New England might just take the dynamic Upshaw (if he's still available) regardless. He's that good and that much of a fit for what they do.

Well, it's been interesting to look at football from the perspective of Bill Belichick. And now, please excuse me while I shower and wash the stink of this dirty deed from my soul...


BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:

  1. Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
  2. Washington Redskins -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
  3. Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
  4. Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
  6. St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
  7. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
  8. Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
  9. Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
  10. Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
  11. Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
  12. Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
  13. Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
  14. Dallas Cowboys -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
  15. Philadelphia Eagles -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
  16. New York Jets -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
  17. Cincinnati Bengals -- Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia
  18. San Diego Chargers -- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
  19. Chicago Bears -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
  20. Tennessee Titans -- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
  21. Cincinnati Bengals -- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
  22. Cleveland Browns -- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
  23. Detroit Lions -- Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
  24. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
  25. Denver Broncos -- Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
  26. Houston Texans -- Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Giants Win Super Bowl XLVI 21-17 Over New England Patriots

*** Discuss this article and more at our Pittsburgh Steelers forum ***

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It was a classic in the score far moreso than the play on the field.

To put the Giants' 21-17 win in Super Bowl XLVI over New England as something epic is misguided. But they still won it. It was their fourth championship, and incidentally, New England's fourth Super Bowl loss.

An uneven and bizarre season came to a close in a way more fitting with the past than with the future. In the supposed Year of the Quarterback (thank you, ESPN), neither quarterback played particularly well through four quarters, and it was lesser heralded guys who won it for New York, and lost it for New England.

Mario Manningham looked lazy in trying to get his feet down on what should have been a reception in the third quarter. In the fourth, he made the best Super Bowl catch since Santonio at the back pylon in Super Bowl XLIII, helping out eventual game MVP Eli Manning.

Conversely, Wes Welker, who led the league in catches this year, and Aaron Hernandez, who played very well in the more-or-less absence of TE Rob Gronkowski, dropped good passes from Patriots QB Tom Brady on their series - not to mention former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch.

Neither offense looked particularly sharp, and perhaps that's an issue of coaching. The Giants managed to win the game despite examples of poor clock management. No coaching flub was bigger, though, than the obvious lack of foresight that the Patriots would allow the Giants to score from six yards out. Bradshaw ran to about the one-foot line before realizing no one was going to tackle him, and it appeared he was too far along to stop and fall down at the one, which would have allowed the Giants to force the Patriots to use their final timeout.

Instead, Bradshaw scored, giving the Patriots a timeout and 57 seconds to try to make something happen.

They nearly did, too.

Brady heaved a prayer from midfield on a play in which Gronkowski was trailing in an effort to scoop up any deflections. The deflection came, and it appeared Gronkowski could have gotten to the ball.

Maybe that's what high ankle sprains do to your quickness. Or your offense. The Patriots struggled outside dominating drives at the end of the first half and the start of the second. They put two touchdowns on the board in that time, but only three points otherwise.

The biggest missed opportunity the Patriots had was in the fourth quarter, holding onto a 17-12 lead. Brady was working the ball down the field, but poor throws forced a punt that gave Manning the ball back with time to score.

That's Eli Manning, the new clutch QB of the NFL.

He took his team down for the eventual game-winning touchdown.

There's no longer an issue between the Giants and the Patriots dating back from 2007. Manning has established himself as today's 4th quarter quarterback.

Brady's got no bones on that.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Championship Game Analysis Looks at Physical Giants Receivers and a Plan of Success for New England

Working off-schedule is kind of nice.

Without much of a news budget scheduled until march (draft madness, baby), we're pretty much going to freehand most of the writing. I see that as a good thing. Being serious get old after a while.

I'm gonna stay off-schedule, and just give you some of my uncensored, random thoughts on the match-ups this weekend. I shared my feelings on the Brady v. Flacco match-up coming up, I'll try to dig into the NFC game a bit too.

I have two older brothers, and I've often thought about what it would be like if both of us were (chuckle) head coaches in the NFL.

Everyone talked about the Harbaughs exchanging information in regards to upcoming opponents. I dismissed this as having anything of value because coaches do that all the time. Raheem Morris, the former Buccaneers coach, worked under Mike Tomlin on Jon Gruden's staff in Tampa Bay in 2005. You think they don't share information as well? Does the fact they aren't blood relatives make that scenario any more or less likely?

If anything, when I think of either of my brothers being at that level with me, I think more of the times I had to be the center while one completed the Super Bowl-winning touchdown pass to the other, or the times they'd play goal line stand, where I had to get in the end zone from a yard out against both of them.

I may give them some of my honest opinion, but I'm going to throw a red herring or two in there as well.

"Nah, don't worry about Ninkovich, run away from him, what happened against Denver was an aberration. And that bit with Hernandez in the backfield? Don't worry about it, there's no chance all they were doing was putting it on film so you think they'll run out of that formation next week. Sell out for the run, Ray Lewis can cover him in the open field, no problem."

It may not necessarily be with Hernandez, but look for the Patriots to stretch the Ravens defense out much like what Houston did. Granted, they don't have Arian Foster, and they aren't the greatest run-blocking team, but their linemen are quick and athletic, and setting up play-action off getting Baltimore's linebackers moving horizontally will open up a lot of room down the seam.

Clearly, the story in this game is Baltimore's defense vs. New England's offense, so the other side on both teams needs to come up with a few plays. With the Ravens offensive line falling apart, and the Patriots defense playing above the sum of its parts (which still isn't much), this will come down to Baltimore's ability to keep Flacco upright long enough to eventually hit one of the deep passes they insist on throwing. Conventional wisdom would suggest the Ravens would simply pepper the Patriots with even doses of Ray Rice and TEs Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, but I'm done trying to apply common sense to Baltimore's offensive game plan.

Rest assured, though Tom Brady will not throw straight into tight high-low coverage multiple times the way T.J. Yates did. Remember that when you hear Ravens fans crying about the lack of coverage in their secondary. However, it may not matter, because if the Ravens defense is as good as everyone says it is, there's no reason they cannot dial up the kind of pressure needed to stop Brady.

As for what Brother John is saying to Brother Jim about the Giants:

"Make Nicks beat you. It's ok to cut him loose to eliminate Cruz. He's really not that strong, and can't really make big plays in traffic. He'll fumble, too, if you hit him square in the chest, so emphasize stripping the ball over putting him on the ground. Whitner can play on his own in the deep secondary, so tell your corners to go for the pick."

Donte Whitner nearly single-handedly cost San Francisco a win when they had no business losing. Yes, turnovers have been San Francisco's bread-and-butter all season, but there comes a point you need to recognize when an offense simply has a physical advantage over you. Whitner's lame attempt to go for the ball on the 7-foot-5 Jimmy Graham missed horribly, and Graham went for a 66-yard touchdown.

The Giants are going to try to run deep posts and digs on Whitner and take advantage of the good size and excellent strength of their receivers. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Giants are added to the "best receiving corps in the game" conversation before this season is over. Nicks and Cruz are easily the strongest pair of receivers in the league, and they're emerging as the best playmakers as well.

Look for this to be a brutally physical match-up. San Francisco has the most aggressive defense of the remaining playoff teams, but as the Saints proved, over-aggression can be a problem in big games. Also, like the Saints proved, five turnovers means little, because, in the end, the team that goes the hardest for the longest is going to win. A true battle of attrition. And you know Mike Tomlin likes that.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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AFC championship game: Tape will tell all for New England

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On a rare Sunday off, New England Patriots players relaxed in front of their television sets to watch the only team standing between them and another Super Bowl appearance. They were impressed, though not surprised, by the Baltimore Ravens. "They're a great team," New England wide receiver Wes Welker said Monday. "They wouldn't be in this spot if they weren't.

Source: post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL

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