NFL 2012: AFC East Preview

By Matt Noonan 

The AFC East may not be the flashiest division this season, but don’t underestimate Buffalo, New York or Miami. All three teams have challenged the Patriots over the past few seasons, and can certainly provide the unnecessary head ache to Patriots coaches, fans and players, especially when they least expect it.

However, New England shouldn’t have a problem winning this division, but keep your eyes on the Bills and Jets.

1.) New England Patriots (12-4) – Some analysts believe this team may mimic their record-breaking performance from 2007, while others think they’re a shoe-in for this year’s Super Bowl. In order for the Patriots to be successful, they’ll need rookies Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower to pressure opposing quarterbacks and provide all sorts of havoc.

Will Chandler Jones be the Patriots most valuable defensive player this season? We’ll see! (Photo Credit: Zimbio.com)

2.) Buffalo Bills (9-7) – The Bills bolted out of the gate last season, but couldn’t maintain their momentum, as injuries and errors derailed their chances of a successful season. This year, Buffalo added Mario Williams and Mark Anderson to their defense, and drafted two potential studs in Cordy Glenn and Stephon Gilmore. The usual cast is back on offense – Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson and Steve Johnson, but the main question from last year remains: Can they stay healthy? Also, can they be consistent, too?

3.) New York Jets (7-9) – No offense Jets fans, but your team is in complete disarray. New York didn’t locate the end zone until their fourth preseason game, and there’s still questions surrounding their offense and defense. Yet, probably one of the biggest sagas surrounding this team is when will Rex Ryan swap Tim Tebow for Mark Sanchez?

4.) Miami Dolphins (5-11) – There will be a lot of ups and downs this season for the Dolphins, but expect Miami to conclude their year with at least four or five wins.

Tebow-Mania Spreads to New York City

Tim Tebow was introduced as a New York "Football" Jet on Monday, and apparently is ready to help Gang Green win a title! (Photo Credit: USA Today)

By Matt Noonan 

The New York Jets haven’t won a Super Bowl championship since January of 1969, but Monday’s Tim Tebow press conference certainly provided numerous Gang Green supporters with a great deal of optimism toward the upcoming campaign.

Tebow spoke with 200 credentialed media members for roughly 32 minutes on Monday at the Jets practice facility, and fielded questions from why he was “blessed” to be a Jet to his relationship with starting quarterback Mark Sanchez. The young gunslinger also preached about his relationship with the New York coaching staff, which possibly explains why he chose the Big Apple over Jacksonville, Florida.

“It’s such an honor for me to be here, and I’m so excited about being a Jet,” Tebow said via the team’s website. “I just want to thank the Broncos for my time in Denver – it was an amazing time. I want to thank my teammates and the fans for being such great teammates and such great fans, and I’m looking forward to my time here in New York and my time as a Jet.”

“I’m so honored and humbled to be a Jet. I’m so thankful that they wanted me, and I’m so excited about meeting my teammates,” added the Jets backup quarterback.

This particular type of press conference is rather unusual, especially for a backup quarterback, but due to the so-called, “Tebow hype,” as well as his success from last season, it wasn’t too surprising that various media members decided to greet the 24-year-old, as well as question him about joining a team that’s been the doormat to the Super Bowl the past three years in the American Football Conference.

“I’m excited to be a Jet – to go out there and help this team anyway that I can, and whatever my role is, however I can expand that role – I’m going to try and do that,” said Tebow.

Tebow will certainly be a major asset, especially since head coach Rex Ryan believes that his number will be called roughly 20 times per game. However, don’t anticipate any quarterback swap to occur because as various reports confirmed – Sanchez is going to be the starter once week one arrives.

“I think the exciting thing is that me and Mark have a great relationship,” Tebow said when asked about playing behind Sanchez. “We have had a good relationship for the last three-years, I think. We’ve been friends, we’ve [texted each other] back and fourth, we’ve talked already, and we’re going to have a great relationship and a great working relationship and I think we’ll have a lot of fun together.”

So, whether you like it or not, Tebow is officially a Jet and the excitement for him has definitely drifted from the Rocky Mountains to the city that never sleeps.

Tebow Chooses The New York “Football” Jets

It's official - Tim Tebow is going to be a Jet in 2012! (Photo Credit: CBS News)

By Matt Noonan 

Numerous sources confirmed at 9PM on Wednesday, March 21, that Tim Tebow is officially headed to the New York Jets. Gang Green also received a seventh round draft pick, while Denver endured a fourth and sixth round selection.

Sources and reports confirmed earlier that Tebow had officially been traded to New York, but a later bulletin announced that the Jets front office hadn’t exactly read all of the fine print.

Tebow’s contract apparently stated that any suitor who obtained him would have to pay Denver $5 million. And while New York remained at a standstill over this issue, sources then began reporting that Tebow would most likely return to Denver, and then be pursued by Jacksonville and St. Louis.

However, the whirlwind officially ended a few hours later when the Broncos and Jets agreed to split the coast, and execute the deal.

Tebow started 13 of 18 games last season, which included two postseason contests against New England and Pittsburgh, but will most likely backup Mark Sanchez, who recently signed a three-year extension.

Andy Reid’s Post-Game Thoughts On New England

Andy Reid explained that the Patriots were the better team on Sunday against his Philadelphia Eagles!

By Matt Noonan 

Against the New England Patriots on Sunday, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid admitted after his team’s seventh loss off the season that his opponent was clearly the better team.

“Obviously the Patriots were the better team [on Sunday],” said Reid via the team’s website.

The head coach continued by saying, “You obviously can’t have that many penalties and turnovers when you’re playing a good football team, so that’s my responsibility and I’ve got to make sure that I take care of that [going forward].”

The Eagles recorded 10 penalties, one interception, and yielded 457 net yards, which didn’t seem to make the head coach or the players too happy. Although, Philadelphia’s offense registered 466 yards in a span of 60-minutes, and 400 yards through the air, which was certainly a goal the Eagles wanted to accomplish.

New England has allowed opposing offenses to record a plethora of yards this season, especially against Buffalo, New York, Pittsburgh, and San Diego.

“Well the teams that we saw that had success against them obviously threw the football, and did a good job with it. And they’re stout against the run. You’re playing into their strength with that, [so] again, I’ll take responsibility for that,” said Reid.

However, despite beating New England in net and passing yards, Reid certainly believed the Patriots were the better team on Sunday.

“You’ve got to give credit to the other team, they did a good job against us,” said Reid.

Thanksgiving Football Prediction: Dallas-Miami

Can Tony Romo keep his "November to Remember" streak going against the Dolphins on Thursday?

By Matt Noonan 

On paper this seems like a dangerous matchup, but in reality the Cowboys should certainly win this game and extend their current winning streak to four games.

“What we’ve done the last three weeks really doesn’t mean anything in terms of this game [on Thursday] against the Dolphins. We’ve got to prepare the right way and then go play our best football,” said Dallas head coach Jason Garrett via the team’s website.

Quarterback Tony Romo hasn’t lost a Thanksgiving tilt since being named the starter mid-way through the ’06 season, and also hasn’t tossed an interception since his team fell to Philadelphia three weeks ago.

The emergence of rookie running back DeMarco Murray and wide receiver Laurent Robinson has helped the Cowboys offense dramatically, while second-year linebacker Sean Lee leads the team with 65 tackles, (43 tackles, 22 assists). Expect all three players to assist the team against the Dolphins, as well as play vital parts in a must-win contest.

As for the Dolphins, they enter Thursday’s game with a three-game winning streak. Quarterback Matt Moore recorded three touchdowns against Buffalo and Kansas City, while running back Reggie Bush recorded four rushing scores in the past three weeks. Miami’s defense ranks sixth in points against, and seventh against the run.

FUN FACT – The last time both teams met on Thanksgiving was in ’03, and yes, the Dolphins beat the Cowboys, 40-21. Jay Fiedler tossed three touchdowns to Chris Chambers, while Ricky Williams recorded 104 yards on 31 carries.    

PREDICTION – The Cowboys are the better team, and need to focus on protecting the football and Romo, as well as forcing Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore into making multiple mistakes. Dallas 31 – Miami 10  

Drew Bledsoe Is Officially A Patriots Hall of Famer

It's official - Bledsoe is now a member of the New England Patriots Hall of Fame!

By Matt Noonan 

It’s been an exciting past few days for the former New England Patriots quarterback, Drew Bledsoe who was recently enshrined in the team’s Hall of Fame on Saturday. Bledsoe was greeted by hundreds of fans that came to celebrate his nine-year career with the team, as well as the special moment too.

Yet, what do we remember most about Bledsoe? When we think of his name, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Well for starters, here’s a few talking points to jumpstart this conversation.

– Bledsoe is a guy that all Patriots fans will never forget. He was a tall, lengthy quarterback that made die-hards cringe. He often overthrew receivers, but when he was “on fire,” he was magical. Yet, he didn’t have the magic or power that Doug Flutie did.

– He butted heads with former head coach Bill Parcells, but somehow managed to lead the ’96 Patriots to the Super Bowl, which they lost. He was also a member of the AFC Pro-Bowl team that season, and led the league with 373 passes completed.

– He started in 123-of-124 games with the Patriots, as well as tossed 166 touchdowns and 138 interceptions. He also completed 2,544 passes for 29,657 yards.

– Bledsoe was the first pick in the ’93 NFL Draft and was selected to four Pro-Bowls too.

– In his nine seasons with the team, Bledsoe led the Patriots to three playoff appearances, as well as one AFC Championship game. Although, while he didn’t win a ring under center, he finally snagged one in ’01 when New England upset St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI, (thanks, Tom Brady).

– One of his finest games came against the Minnesota Vikings in ’94, where he helped the Patriots rally to beat the “Purple People Eaters,” 26-20 in overtime. On that particular day, Bledsoe completed 45-of-70 passes for 426 yards and three touchdowns.

So, what do you have to say, fans? Was Bledsoe a valuable member of the Patriots?

Absolutely!

He may have not been Brett Favre, John Elway, Steve Young or Troy Aikman, but he was a solid quarterback that loved the game of football. In fact, I think it’s also fair to state that he was one of the main reasons the Patriots became a contender. Bledsoe will always be considered a valuable component of the Patriots modern day success, as well as their franchise, but in the end, he’ll always be remembered for his gutsy performances and efforts.

Bledsoe may not be headed to Canton, Ohio anytime soon, but that doesn’t matter because as of today, he’ll always be remembered as of the great Patriots players who sported the red, white and blue.

Daily Noontime – September 7, 2011

Garrard was shown the door Tuesday, but now, he's wanted by three teams!

Happy “Hump” Day everyone and welcome into yet another Daily Noontime! Here’s the headlines, news and of course, so much more on a rainy, wacky day! 

Headlines: 

* The New England Patriots and New York Jets are favored to win the AFC East, but what about the Miami Dolphins? Well, some believe this particular squad has a “slim” chance to succeed this season.

* Despite being shown the door on Tuesday, former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard appears to be wanted by three teams. However, according to his agent, he’s in no hurry.

* Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg pitched quite an impressive game on Tuesday, which hopefully is a sign of good things to come.

* Milan Lucic made headlines recently, as sources confirmed the Boston Bruins left-winger got in an altercation with his girlfriend in the North End.

* The Bruins Stanley Cup celebration continues on Thursday, as the trophy will be brought to Providence, Rhode Island.

* After losing Josh Beckett in the fourth inning and game on Monday, the Boston Red Sox bats beat up the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, 14-0.

Games to Watch: 

* Atlanta at Philadelphia (MLB) – 7:00pm eastern 

* Boston at Toronto (MLB) – 7:07pm eastern 

Video of the Day: 

Stephen Strasburg pitched quite well on Tuesday, which is why we’ve decided to make this our “video of the day!”

Brandon Meriweather Shown the Door by New England

The Patriots trimmed their roster on Saturday and yes, it included crossing off Meriweather's name.

By Matt Noonan 

As the clock ticked closer to the 4:00pm deadline, it became evident according to multiple sources that New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather was shown the door by head coach Bill Belichick.

This past Thursday, Meriweather was spotted on the field during the second half of the team’s final preseason contest against the New York Giants. Yet, despite playing a majority of the “garbage” minutes during the third and fourth quarters, he admitted after the game that he believed his job was safe.

In fact, he told CSNNE.com’s Tom E. Curran the following:

“Why everybody feel like I’m in trouble?” he asked. “Hey, maybe they know something we don’t. Maybe they know something that [Belichick] didn’t tell us. He usually comes and tell us if there’s something going on. He’s good with stuff like that so, you know, I’m just going to keep working hard and keep playing.”

Meriweather learned the news of his release on Saturday afternoon, as he was one of the final players to be cut from the Patriots preseason roster. New England also bid adieu to running back/fullback Sammy Morris, wide receiver Brandon Tate, tight end Lee Smith and defensive end Eric Moore.

According to the Patriots website, Belichick discussed Meriweather’s preseason performance during Friday’s conference call and stated the following:

Brandon has been out there every day. He’s worked hard. He’s been able to do everything and I think he’s gotten better, worked a lot on his man-to-man coverage. He’s out there practicing like everybody else is.”

Meriweather was drafted in the first round of the ’07 NFL Draft and as appeared in the Pro-Bowl twice.

Eli Manning Talks More About Tom Brady Comment on SportsCenter

Manning came clean on Thursday's SportsCenter, but really, did he want to stir up drama between him and Brady?

By Matt Noonan 

The Eli Manning-Tom Brady saga continued on Thursday, as the New York Giants quarterback was interviewed on SportsCenter about his confident comments toward the New England Patriots gunslinger.

Here are some highlights from the interview, as well as more “nonsense” that’ll aggravate Patriots fans and possibly the players too.

On his original comment, which was being in the same “class” as Tom Brady:

“I always try to give an honest answer. [On the Michael Kay Show on ESPN 1050AM], he asked, if I thought I was an elite quarterback [and] I think I am. That’s what I work toward every year. I am trying to be the best quarterback that I can be [because] I am not trying to compete against other quarterbacks. I am not trying to be a better quarterback than [Brady]. I am trying to go win games for the Giants. Each year, I try to find things I need to improve on and try to lead our teams to more wins and so that’s what my goal is [because] I wasn’t trying to start any controversy. I thought after the interview, it was a nice little interview and nothing would come out of it and obviously, I am still trying to compete [and] trying to work hard and have a big season this year.”

On all the reaction, hype, buzz and chaos that occurred because of his comment toward Brady:

“I really didn’t know about it for a while. In training camp, we’re in meetings, we’re in practice [and I] don’t have a whole lot of time to read the papers and to watch [television], so I got a voicemail from my dad [Archie Manning] last night [and] sometimes, he knows I’m not keeping up with everything. He gave me the scoop on what was going on and how this thing had taken off… I don’t think I said anything incorrectly, I didn’t say anything [or] trying to bring anybody else down. I am confident in my ability [and] I think with the players that we have and this team that we have, we can be a high-powered offense and score a lot of points and I can be at my best with these guys.”

On improving and becoming a better quarterback:

“You can’t just focus on one thing and obviously last year, we did a lot of good things also [because we were] top-five in total offense, we scored a lot of points [and] I threw 31 touchdowns [and also] didn’t take many sacks. [There are] a lot of good things, but obviously the turnovers were a big problem… I’ve looked at it hard, I’ve tried to see if there’s a theme to anything or what I need to improve on, whether it’s decision making or just a bad throw or certain reads, so that’s something I’m working on to make that will not happen again [because] I don’t consider myself a 25 interception quarterback and I know that just a few years ago in 2008, we set a record for the fewest turnovers in a season with just 13, so that’s what our goal is, [which is] to get back down to that level.”     

Where is Mr. Albert Haynesworth?

Will Albert Haynesworth remain a member of the New England Patriots this season?

By Matt Noonan 

Anyone want to give up on Albert Haynesworth?

Any chance New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick might decide to cut him?

Hey, it could happen, right?

According to various reports on Tuesday, as well as the past few days, it seems quite obvious that Haynesworth is not a threat, but instead, a distraction. He hasn’t been spotted on the Gillette Stadium practice field and the head coach didn’t seem to mutter any words of wisdom in regards to trading or releasing the defensive lineman.

Hey, Billy, any chance we see Haynesworth on Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars?

Yet, doesn’t this whole soap opera seem like yet another failed experiment? Shouldn’t we draw some comparisons to Joey Galloway?

Galloway was acquired by the Patriots in ’09, but didn’t pan out. In fact, he ended up finding a spot with the Pittsburgh Steelers that season, as well as spent ’10 with the Washington Redskins.

Although, I’m not trying to compare Galloway to Haynesworth, but it certainly seems that the NFL’s controversial lineman isn’t exactly doing what many New Englanders thought he’d be doing in August, which is preparing for the upcoming season.

However, despite his absence, the Patriots signed former New York Jets defensive lineman Shaun Ellis and Redskins defensive end, Andre Carter this past weekend. Perhaps this is a sign that the whole, “Haynesworth deal” was a hoax or more a way to keep Pats fans on their toes, yet, no matter what, it just seems that yet again, Belichick is trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Will Haynesworth help? Absolutely, but he needs to be on the field, not the locker room, weight room or local Foxborough Starbucks. Belichick has a plan, so let’s hope that he has something up his sleeve because otherwise this particular acquisition will be deemed “Galloway 2.0.”