The New England Patriots apparently have a lot of football fans on their roster.
The playoff bye week brings such imaginative questions as, “Do you plan on watching this weekend’s games?” Most players, including James White, Phillip Dorsett, Chris Hogan and David Andrews, said yes.
Their focus might shift after the first game of the four-contest slate. If the Houston Texans beat the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday afternoon, then the Patriots’ divisional-round matchup will be set. The Patriots would take on the Texans on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 1:05 p.m. If the Colts win, the Patriots get the winner of Sunday afternoon’s Los Angeles Chargers-Baltimore Ravens matchup.
Let’s get into this week’s mailbag.
If Steelers do decide to deal AB. Do Patriots have any chance of doing a deal to acquire him? And do you think the Patriots would give a 1st or 2nd rounder to get him? #MailDoug
The short answer: No.
The Steelers would have to be insane to trade Antonio Brown to the Patriots, but he’d have incredible trade value.
The Steelers would have to eat Brown’s remaining guarantees, meaning the wide receiver’s new team would be acquiring him on a three-year, $38.925 million contract. That’s an unbelievable bargain even if he is a bit of a diva. If the Patriots somehow had the opportunity to acquire Brown, they would have to jump at it. He’s unbelievable.
If the New York Giants decided to trade wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., he’d be a similar bargain. A new team would acquire Beckham on a five-year, $77 million contract.
Despite the fact that Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said New York won’t trade Beckham, it’s still more likely the Patriots could acquire Odell in a trade than Brown.
If I’m the Patriots, I badger the Giants about Odell, by the way.
What player do you see the patriots using their franchise tag on, if any?
Probably no one, but the best bet would be defensive end Trey Flowers. I’m ever the optimist, but I still believe the Patriots will lock up Flowers long-term. The Patriots are willing to pay players market value if they deem them worthy. Just look at safety Devin McCourty and linebacker Dont’a Hightower.
But if the Patriots and Flowers can’t reach a long-term agreement, they could still franchise him. While most players aren’t thrilled with being franchised, I couldn’t imagine Flowers causing much of a commotion about it.
It’s still unlikely, however. Flowers would made upwards of $17.2 million under the tag. That’s a lot of dough.
Who should we be most scared to play in the Divisional Round, in your opinion? The Ravens, Chargers, or Texans?
The Ravens, even though I wouldn’t have much confidence in a rookie quarterback winning a postseason game in Foxboro. Still, their defense is dangerous. And the Patriots’ offense has shown enough flaws this season that it would be a risky proposition facing a top-tier unit.
The Patriots have proven they can beat the Texans on numerous occasions, including Week 1. That’s why Patriots fans seem most excited by the idea of Houston coming to New England.
The Chargers are dangerous. They’re well-rounded, ranking top 10 in offensive and defensive DVOA.
What are the top needs for the Pat’s in this years draft?
Quarterback, wide receiver, tight end, defensive tackle, defensive end and linebacker right now, but the Patriots undoubtedly will fill some of those needs through free agency and trades.
The Patriots could most use an influx of youth at quarterback and linebacker. I suspect they’ll try to fill their receiver needs with veterans. This is my weekly mention that the Patriots should sign slot receiver Adam Humphries this offseason.
Did Cincy keep Lewis as coach for so long because no one wants that job? Asking because of reports McDaniels passed on an interview request. #MailDoug
I don’t think that’s the reason they kept Marvin Lewis around for so long as head coach, but I don’t think it’s the most appealing job to take. The Cincinnati Bengals are notoriously thrifty. They have a very small scouting staff, and Mike Brown, their 83-year-old owner, is also their general manager.
Including Bill Belichick, the Patriots have 24 people in player personnel. The Bengals have 12, including Brown, his daughter, his son and his son-in-law. The Bengals have two scouting directors and two scouts on staff.
That would be a major change for a coordinator coming from the Patriots. I also don’t think there’s much appeal in working with a quarterback like Andy Dalton for Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. I would imagine the Cleveland Browns’ job, working with QB Baker Mayfield, would be most appealing to McDaniels, but there have been no reports of an interview being set up between the two parties.
Let’s go rapid fire.
Not enough has been said about how every team that beat the pats not making the playoffs. Your thoughts?
I don’t really have many! The Patriots beat four playoff teams. They had a weird year.
I asked earlier in the season if a run to a SBLIII would be among the most impressive of the Patriots dynasty given the relative lack of talent of this years squad compared to others.
You went with the 2011 version as a more improbable SB participant, do you still feel that way?
I do. I still think the 2011 team is considerably worse than this year’s squad, especially on defense, when they had offensive players in the defensive backfield.
The 2018 Patriots have been very fortunate with injuries and seem to be improving in the passing game and on defense at the right time. I also don’t think this is a very strong year for the AFC.
I hear good things about the collage QBs who would be available in 2020 and 2021. Do you see a total blow up and ?Suck for Luck? season instigated to try move from the TB12 era to the next phase as soon as possible?
I’ll quote Belichick here:
“I think organizationally, in our organization I don?t think we would put together a team the way Indianapolis did it when they lost (Peyton) Manning and they go 0-16, 1-15 or whatever it was (2-14). I don?t think that?s really what we?re looking for.”
Doug, are you a member of the most Elite Pats Chat ever known?
Some background: Since my DMs are open, I sometimes get invited into Patriots fans group chats. I’m currently in a pretty fun one right now. I drop in and out sporadically.
What was your favorite non-game related moment covering the team during the regular season?
The most honest answer would just be hanging out with fellow beat reporters. We have a lot of fun hanging out during the week in the media workroom, locker room and out on the road.
Which Wild Card game are you looking forward to most this weekend? #MailDoug
For some reason, I might go with Philadelphia Eagles-Chicago Bears. That one seems fun.
I don?t usually look at these but my question is: Do you use your own money to go to the games? Or do the patriots sponsor you? (I am kinda new and know nothin about this field; don?t kill me like the Patriots did against the Jets last week)
I’m credentialed for games, and NESN pays for my travel to attend road games.
Do you have any thoughts on Mean Gene’s passing?
The Mean Gene-era of WWE/WWF is my favorite. I used to love renting WWF pay-per-views on VHS tape from Blockbuster and Hollywood Video as a kid, and Mean Gene’s interviews with wrestlers were always a highlight.
As a reporter standpoint, what is the best and the worst of covering the Patriots? #MailDoug
The best part is covering a successful team who has been in the Super Bowl in three of my five years covering the team.
The worst is probably the guardedness of the organization. As a reporter, it’s difficult when everyone employed by the team is afraid to say anything.
Do you think we lose McDaniels and Flores, or 1, or none?
If I had to guess, the most likely scenario is the Patriots lose neither coordinator. I say that because McDaniels has been a candidate for seven offseason now and hasn’t taken a job yet. If he gets offered the Cleveland Browns job, my opinion would change, however.
I’m not sure if Flores is ready. He’s only been a defensive play-caller for one year.
@DougKyed if you could have any former Patriots player in their prime on this team who would it be and Why? #MailDoug
Can I pick current tight end Rob Gronkowski in his prime? If not, I’ll go with defensive end Richard Seymour, who deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, by the way.