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Goodell Could Rule on Brady Appeal as Early as Next Week

By on July 10, 2015 at 8:19am
76bb0010-fb36-11e4-bedf-fdb4c319c835_goodell_515 Photo courtesy Yahoo! Sports.

Roger Goodell was spending time at a conference in Sun Valley when he told a CNBC reporter that a ruling on Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady’s appeal could come as early as next week.

Goodell initially responded to questioning by saying a decision is “coming soon” and then elaborated that it could be next week. Brady was originally suspended for the first four games if the 2015 season in May and his appeal was heard on June 23. The appeal was a marathon affair, lasting the entire day and into the night. Since the appeal, both sides have been mum regarding the potential outcome.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft was also spotted at the conference, but according to Goodell none of their discussions were regarding Brady.

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Tom Brady will meet face to face with Roger Goodell on Tuesday in the much anticipated “deflategate” appeal. Brady will be looking to have his four game suspension completely wiped out. Goodell will be the arbitrator and have final say on whether or not Brady’s  case merits a change in his discipline. If he chooses to uphold the punishment, Brady will likely sue the league in Federal Court.

Brady has some science on his side as several organizations have recently come out to debunk the science in the Wells Report, including a lengthy New York Times article.(http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/14/opinion/deflating-deflategate.html?_r=0)

Brady also has the issue of precedent on his side as no violation of this minor a magnitude has ever been punished so severely. There is also no direct proof that Brady ordered the footballs to be lowered below the league minimum or that he endorsed the practice.

However, Brady will still have to overcome the fact that he refused to turn records of text messages over to investigators and he will have to prove no wrongdoing. If he cannot do this, it is unlikely that Goodell will wipe his entire punishment away, something that would cause the league to lose face and would be a waste of the Wells Report cost, which was reportedly over $5 million.

The decision will have lasting effect on both the NFL and the Patriots. If the suspension is overturned, the entire process in which the NFL investigated the Patriots and Brady will be questioned. Also, Goodell’s handling of all discipline would be questioned also, as this would not be the first time he had a major decision overturned. If the suspension is upheld, the league will be facing a court battle with one of its biggest stars. Needless to say, the fireworks for the NFL are going to come early this summer, and they will begin tomorrow.

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Through the first four games of last season, the Patriots offense was in shambles. Tom Brady was constantly under pressure and the team was struggling to move the ball even against inferior opponents, such as the Raiders and Vikings. The woes culminated in a 41-14 drubbing at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs.

The offensive line began to play better in the loss to the Chiefs, thanks to the insertion of Bryan Stork as starting center. The line stabilized and was solid through the rest of the Patriots championship season. That does not mean that the problems went away, however. Brady was sacked four times in a late season game against the Jets and twice in the Divisional Playoff win against the Ravens. The Patriots did a much better job of protecting and getting the ball out quicker as the season wore on, but it was an area that needed to be addressed.

The Patriots drafted Florida State guard (and former Stork teammate) Tre Jackson as well as Georgia Tech guard/center Shaq Mason. Dan Connolly, a mainstay on the Patriots offensive line, has not been re-signed after his play dipped a bit last season and Ryan Wendell has proven to be an adept run blocker but has had inconsistencies in pass protection. Currently, the Patriots would have Wendell, Stork, and Marcus Cannon as their three interior offensive lineman if the season began today. Cannon struggled mightily last season and despite having a full offseason to work at guard, his performance should not be expected to be strong.

Enter Jackson. The 6’4″, 326 pound lineman played 49 games for Florida State in his career there and was a unanimous All-American in 2014. He played both guard and center for the team in his career and could play either guard spot for the Patriots but he played mostly on  the right in college. His could potentially solidify the interior of the line next to Stork, so long as he improves his technique which was lacking at times in college. Dave DeGuglielmo will have the responsibility of improving Jackson’s technique so he can excel at the NFL level.

It is possible that both Jackson and Mason start for the Patriots at points this season, but the better bet is for Jackson. Mason is an excellent run blocker, but he is coming from a Georgia Tech team that rarely passed (203 total attempts in 2014) and his pass blocking skills need work. Jackson could be an immediate starter and contributor. There would be growing pains, as with any rookie, but if Jackson earns a starting nod the Patriots would go a long way in have a stable interior line for the foreseeable future.

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Malcolm-Butler

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported last night that Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler was held out of the first two weeks of Organized Team Activities because he showed up late to the initial session.

Butler caught a late flight to New England, which was delayed by weather and caused him to be late on the first day. Because of this, the coaching staff decided to not allow Butler to practice for the first several weeks. Butler was present in all meetings and other activities, he was just not allowed to practiced.

Bill Belichick has a history of sending players home who show up late to meetings or practices. This punishment is longer than previous ones in length, but is also a chance to send a message to a player that has been praised as a hero all offseason. The message seems to have been received, as Butler was back out on the field this yesterday.

 

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NFL: Houston Texans-Training Camp

The NFL announced yesterday that the Houston Texans will be on this season’s version on Hard Knocks. Hard Knocks is an HBO series that chronicles an NFL team through training camp each season. The series focuses on all aspects of an NFL team coming together, from roster cuts to preseason games to the first day of training camp.

The Texans being on Hard Knocks will have a bit of a New England flavor to it as defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, head coach Bill O’Brien, and quarterback Ryan Mallett all reside in Houston. Romeo Crennel, the three time Super Bowl champion as New England’s defensive coordinator, will also be on the show, he serves the same position with Houston.

Patriots fans will get their first glimpse of Wilfork in another uniform and get to see if one of Tom Brady’s former backups, Mallett, can win the starting job. O’Brien should also be interesting to watch as many former Bill Belichick coordinators have failed as head coaches in the NFL. Considering the Patriots will likely never be featured on the show, this will give fans a chance to see some semblance of how a Patriots camp might look from the inside.

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The Associated Press has reported that Tom Brady’s appeal of his four game suspension will not be heard for Wednesday. Wednesday is the 10 day deadline for both sides to set a date for an appeal, the appeal does not have t be heard in that window. The date can be pushed back if both sides mutually agree to do so.

The delay most likely has to do with two factors in the appeal process. The first is Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy’s appeal for his 10 game ban on May 28 due to domestic violence. The league and players association will get Hardy’s hearing done before moving to Brady’s. Continue reading Tom Brady Appeal Won’t Be Heard Before Wednesday »

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When Robert Kraft strolled to the podium at the NFL Owners’ meetings on Tuesday, one could expect just about anything. Since the “Deflategate” controversy and league penalties, one of the league’s most powerful owners was at odds with the offices on Park Avenue in New York.

Given his harsh statements toward the league prior to Super Bowl XLIX and his statements both after the league sanctions and to Peter King over the weekend,  he was viewed as an owner that would not only appeal the penalties, but possibly (although unlikely) go all the way to court.

Instead, Kraft did a 180 and announced that the team would accept the NFL penalties “reluctantly.” These penalties include the loss of a first and fourth round draft pick as well as a $1 million fine. Quarterback Tom Brady is still going ahead with his appeal of a four game ban.

Kraft said in part: ““I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months. I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what he (Roger Goodell) has given to us and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric, and we won’t appeal.’’

A league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Kraft and Goodell had met prior to this press conference and even hugged. Many believe that Kraft offered to accept the team penalties in exchange for a lessening or eliminating of Brady’s suspension. So far, nothing has changed on the Brady front.

The reaction among fans was mixed. Some felt Kraft was doing the right thing by accepting the penalties and trying to move on. Others felt he was turning his back on his team for the good of his fellow owners and profits. Still more were puzzled at why an owner who had insisted on innocence was now accepting some measure of guilt by taking the penalties.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Kraft still may feel his team is innocent, but that he would not win the appeal fight. If he was able to cut a deal and get Brady on the field for week one, then it is understandable. If not, then it is tough to justify spending so much time publicly fighting something to then just change course unless Kraft either knows members of his organization are guilty or he didn’t have the support of other owner’s in his fight.

One has to wonder also how Bill Belichick feels about all this. His press conference the Saturday after the allegations broke was the strongest public defense any member of the organization has done. He is also someone who highly values draft picks and has now lost two of them. And it is safe to say he would have been able to get the Patriots to play well without Brady in the first two or four weeks of the upcoming season. Now it seems all his efforts to prove his operation’s innocence has been for not.

The next crucial date in this saga will be Brady’s appeal. If the four games hold up, then Kraft’s acceptance is not only a loss for New England, but likely to ruffle the feathers of his two most important employees, Belichick and Brady. If the suspension is reduced, then Kraft will be praised for putting Brady above himself. Until then, it is likely we won’t hear anything from either side.

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