By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider
Forty-four lines about 22 Patriots issues . . .
Jets week. On Wednesday, we have 'Patriots Wednesday Live' from Gillette Stadium (tune into Comcast SportsNet at noon for that), Rex Ryan and Plaxico Burress for conference calls and Belichick, Brady, et. al.
Jerod Mayo is out for this week's Quick Slants (knee). We'll be replacing him with my friend Bob Glauber from Newsday -- and, yes, this is a change from a previous version of this story, when the original plan was to talk to Adam Schien from SIRIUS NFL Radio and SNY in New York -- as we break down Pats-Jets.
Nobody wants to hear about travel inconveniences from media members because every reader knows our companies pay for room, board and airfare so we can attend professional sporting events in exotic places (or in Oakland). So I refrain from sharing and - honestly - don't have many gripes.
Allow me one airplane gripe? The guy in the seat behind you who is so plump he can only hoist himself upright by putting his hands on the top of your seat and pulling with all his chubby might, thereby bending your seat halfway to the floor.
Facinating roll call of quarterbacks coming up for the Patriots over the next few weeks. They will see Sanchez, Romo, Roethlisberger, Eli, Sanchez, Cassel and Vick between now and the start of December, so quarterback mobility will be a big issue in every game except the one against the Giants.
That reality makes this Tuesday quote from defensive line coach Pepper Johnson very concerning: "I’m a little more than satisfied [with the play of the defensive line. I’m sure the question is spawned from the stats, but I’m watching how guys are doing what we’re asking them to do. We’re actually hitting the quarterback — a couple times we’re late — but we’re actually hitting the quarterback. It’s just not coming up with the sack."
The Patriots' pass rush isn't quick enough to hit and impact landlocked quarterbacks like Philip Rivers, Ryan Fitzpatrick and fairly stationary guys like Jason Campbell and Chad Henne, yet Johnson's more than a little satisfied? Good luck against guys who are actually elusive and/or hard to bring down like the next set of quarterbacks they'll face.
So far, Albert Haynesworth has played 54 of the Patriots' 265 defensive snaps this season (thanks, Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston who logs plays and has everyone else steal the info). Haynesworth's due to make a base salary of $1.5 million and will collect a $1 million bonus if he plays in 20 percent of the plays - right now, he's at 20.3 percent.
If the Jets are going to attempt to run the ball down the Patriots' gullet on Sunday - as Rex Ryan indicated they might - Haynesworth will be sorely needed. Personally, I'm surprised a non-contact injury that flared up has kept him out for two games.
Business being business, there's no doubt the Krafts are rubbing their temples over cash handed to new/old guys. Chad Ochocinco is collecting $6 million this year in salary ($1 million) and bonuses ($5 million); Shaun Ellis is collecting $4 million, Andre Carter is taking in $2.25; Mark Anderson's bringing in $1.375.
That's about $16 million dished out to four defensive linemen who've generated 2.5 sacks and a wideout who chipped in seven receptions. That would bug me if I were writing the checks.
Meanwhile, Wes Welker is bringing in about $2.5 million in the final year of his contract. That would bug me if I were cashing that check (if I were Wes Welker, that is . . . because if I, little Tommy Curran were cashing that check, I would not be bugged).
Sometimes I wonder if Tom Brady is trying to make a greater point with all his throws to Welker. A point that says, "This is the guy you haven't re-signed and are making play without an injury safety net, and that's something that I object to."
Ochocinco hasn't spoken to the media as a group since before the season opener. He's gotten agitated with me for asking him to speak; so agitated, in fact, my efforts to get him to fulfill that part of his job are done for a while.
Seems most of the media is willing to allow Ocho room in exchange for promises that he'll be the best interview we've had once he gets this offense down. He's a funny and fascinating guy but, man, asking us for that kind of tradeoff - and then being accomodated! - is troubling on a couple of levels.
Ocho had been limited to two catches or less 10 times since 2002. He's been at two or less in each game this season for the Patriots.
The Patriots have $8.3 million of cap room currently. Our buddy Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has all the numbers.
Loneliest feeling in the world? Being a Raiders fan and driving home in your makeup and spiked shoulder pads after a loss.
Shaun Ellis did not look good trying to chase down Jacoby Ford on that reverse against the Raiders. Zombie-like (Shaun of the Dead).
Please select one: Indy's quarterback Curtis Painter looks like a) Sam Kinison; b) Amy Poehler; c) Kurt Cobain.
For a guy who was supposed to be the fastest linebacker in the 2008 draft class (4.47 at the NFL Combine), Gary Guyton sure does run slowly. Yes he does.
Since Rex Ryan's been in New York, the Patriots are 2-2 with Wes Welker active. In those four games, these are the catches and yards he's rolled up: 15 for 192 (W), 6 for 38 (L), 7 for 80 (W), 7 for 57 (L) - suffice to say, once burned by Wes was all it took.