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Quick-hit thoughts around NFL & Pats

9/25/2011

Quick-hit thoughts around the NFL and with the Patriots:

1. Sunday at 1. The Patriots don’t have too many of these games, with today’s 1 p.m. kickoff at Buffalo just one of four on the season. But here’s a thought: With the Colts struggling, maybe the Dec. 4 kickoff gets flexed from 8:20 p.m. to 1 p.m. Who would have thought that just a few months ago?

2. The passing of former Browns/Ravens offensive tackle Orlando “Zeus” Brown stoked recollections of Bill Belichick stories to reporters about Brown. Belichick gave Brown his NFL start, and helped him progress from unpolished blocker to one of the NFL’s best at his position (link here).

3. Not sure if the Bills can keep it up offensively, but I like how head coach Chan Gailey – regarded as one of the NFL’s better offensive coaches – has established a spread-it-out-and-let-it-rip identity. If you’re going to play in the AFC East, you have to do something to stay with the Patriots. The Bills have been fun to watch.

4. How quickly things change. In the 2009 NFL Draft, I remember linebacker Aaron Curry (No. 4, Seahawks) being described as the safest pick in the draft. But just last week, he was demoted to the second team.

5. Denarius Moore. Have to be honest, hadn’t heard much about him until watching last Sunday’s Raiders-Bills game; he’s an impressive rookie receiver (5th round out of Tennessee) for the Raiders. Haven’t seen a rookie receiver make that type of impact in New England since Deion Branch in 2002.

6. Playing a hunch, I think the Patriots lose one of the next two games on the schedule, either today at Buffalo or next Sunday at Oakland.

7. The Jets are known for “ground and pound”, but they haven’t been that through two weeks of the season – 16 carries for 45 yards against the Cowboys, and 32 carries for 101 yards against the Jaguars (29 of which were by quarterback Mark Sanchez).

8. Jacksonville-Carolina is one of the wish-I-could-see it games on the schedule today -- Blaine Gabbert vs. Cam Newton, two quarterbacks who give their franchises hope, similar to what Drew Bledsoe did for the Patriots in 1993.

9. Happy to see the success of Bills tight end Scott Chandler, as it reflects well on tight ends coach Bob Bicknell. The son of longtime Boston College coach Jack Bicknell, Bob is much like his dad – a class act who paid his dues and is excellent at what he does. Just ask Patriots guard Brian Waters, who goes way back to NFL Europe and the Berlin Thunder with Bicknell.

10. Thought the professionalism of punter Zoltan Mesko shined through this week, putting in overtime to rehab his left knee and give him a chance to play today. That included a long day at the facility Tuesday, the players’ regular off day.