In this New England Patriots Rundown, we touch on a certain Miami Dolphins running back again, one of Bill Parcells’s regrets, and Dan Shaughnessy’s not-so-flattering words about the “Patriot Way”.
1. Bill Parcells is credited with being the head coach who turned around the New England Patriots organization, but the Hall of Fame coach walked away from the team just when the pieces were gelling together after a Super Bowl appearance. Parcells, unsurprisingly, wanted to have a greater say in personnel decisions, but Robert Kraft was reluctant to allow Parcells “shop for some of the groceries”. I’m glad that things have worked out the way they have for the New England Patriots with Bill Belichick at the helm, and my biggest worry is if Parcells was still the coach and had that say in personnel decisions, would the Patriots still have Tom Brady?
Parcells told the USA Today that he regrets leaving the New England Patriots, but it’s safe to say that we’re fine with the way things turned out, thanks to Belichick and Brady.
2. Lamar Miller seems poised for a big year in 2013, and he is the biggest breakout candidate at the running back position. However, it is up to Miller to show that he can be a three-down, feature back in this league, and Rotoworld’s Evan Silva tells us that he barely played on third downs last year. Although Miller barely played overall last season, it is telling that just seven of his 57 snaps came on third-downs. That makes Ryan Tannehill‘s praise (among others) of Miller’s improved pass protection more important.
3. Although the Miami Dolphins are the favorites to sign fullback Vonta Leach, the Baltimore Sun tells us that the Ravens are still taking a look at Leach. So they haven’t ruled out re-signing him? Interesting. I doubt he ends up back in Baltimore, but it’s certainly a possibility. At this point, I expect Leach to be Miller’s new lead-blocker in Miami, barring a charge from another team. You know it is the dry part of the offseason when a fullback creates the second-biggest headlines, with only a certain murder case trumping him.
4. Dan Shaughnessy likes to pop up with controversial statements regarding the New England Patriots, and he did it again yesterday on CSNNE. Shaughnessy called the Patriot Way a “punchline”, which probably doesn’t sit well with many fans. My biggest complaint with what Shaughnessy said isn’t that he ripped the Patriot Way; it’s the fact that he is assuming Aaron Hernandez is guilty. I firmly believe that everyone needs to regard a person as innocent until proven guilty, even if I personally have my doubts about Hernandez’s innocence. One other thing: if you criticize the Patriots in this, then you are assuming that they can control Hernandez’s mind and everything he does. I didn’t completely agree with Tom E. Curran’s take on CSNNE, but he took a more measured approach and I agree that the Patriots can’t completely change players, even if that is their mindset. I think we need to lower our expectations of the Patriots organization on the character front, because we either praise them too much and then have them take the fall. It starts and ends with Hernandez and the individual players, though I am inclined to believe that the team has helped some out.
5. Let’s finish up the “Rundown” with a piece my friend Oliver Thomas wrote at the Bleacher Report about how Tom Brady doesn’t need Rob Gronkowski to be elite. It’s a pretty obvious conclusion to me, but the Pats will feel the burn of losing Gronk. It’s just that the offense should still be fine for the times Gronk is absent in the regular season, just not when it comes down to matchups in the playoffs. We can’t downplay Gronk’s impact, but we must also be sure not to overreact. Thomas has some great insight in that piece with plenty of numbers and evidence on tape, so I would recommend following the link.