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Thread: Super Bowl Connections

  1. #1

    Super Bowl Connections

    Super notes: Pats with stripes surface

    Posted 23 hours ago

    Rex Burkhead down the stretch in 2016, his most productive as a Bengal.

    MINNEAPOLIS - Ivan Fears, who has gone from coaching Antowain Smith and Marc Edwards in his first Patriots backfield of 2002 to James White
    and a cast of thousands, raved Monday night about the depth in the Bengals backfield that gave him Bengals draft pick Rex Burkhead in free agency.

    You have to go to a careerist like Fears on Monday night of Super Bowl week to not go mad. Media Day was already a zoo, but now Media Night is a
    certifiable prime-time yuk now officially the latest reality TV train wreck and you need a football guy like Fears to talk, well, football.

    “Look at all the backs you’ve got,” Fears said about the Bengals. “He didn’t have a place. It was perfect for him to fall to us. Tons of guys. There was
    no place for him. He was playing special teams for you and he did well and he’s helped us there, too.

    “They’ve done a great job getting talent there,” said Fears, who also has former Bengals fullback James Develin. “We’ve been fortunate to get some
    guys from there and they’ve really helped us … What a year (Develin) is having, huh? Love that guy. You just have to turn him loose.”

    Burkhead’s biggest day of the year was probably against Denver, when he caught a touchdown pass and blocked a punt in the first 21 minutes. One
    of the reasons the Bengals didn’t re-sign him, besides Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard, and Jeremy Hill, is durability and that has raised its head. He’s
    played ten games after missing time early in the year with a rib injury and missed the last two games of the regular season and the first play-off game
    with a knee sprain before playing three snaps from scrimmage and four in the kicking game during last week’s AFC title game.

    But when Burkhead hasn’t been hurt, he’s been terrific. He played 25 percent of the snaps in his last healthy outing, the win over Pittsburgh on Dec.
    17 in which he ran for a short TD on one of his six carries in the 27-24 win that gave the Pats home-field advantage.

    That’s primarily been Burkhead’s role in the revolving New England backfield. Short-yardage back. The Pats saw that power in the last six games of
    last season, when Burkhead got 68 of his career 87 rushes in three seasons with the Bengals.

    “He’s a hard runner. A hard down-hill runner,” Fears said. “He didn’t play much early. Then all those guys got hurt and he ended up finishing the year
    for Cincinnati. That’s the only time you could look at him.”

    But he’s been more than a big back.

    “He’s proven to be very, very good in the open field, a very good pass route runner, very good in blitz pickup. He’s a tough guy. He plays big for a
    small guy. There’s a lot more to him than the little package you thought he had.”

    Marquis Flowers: finds a niche.

    The video man draped a scarf from a foreign championship soccer team over the shoulders of another old friend, linebacker
    Marquis Flowers, while Flowers did what he does, which is speak his mind. Flowers, uncertain if the man had given the scarf to him or just let him
    borrow it, politely thanked him when the guy took it to the next interview. When noted that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick hadn’t taken away his
    chatty personality, Flowers smiled.

    “Bill’s not going to try to change who you are. I am who I am,” Flowers said. “I’m always going to be like that. I don’t change for anybody. I’m not going
    to change who I am.”

    Flowers has become a go-to-guy for the media in the notorious button-down Patriots locker room, but he thinks he’s kept it pretty basic. Asked what’s
    the most outrageous thing he’s said since the Bengals traded him to New England for a seventh-round pick in late August, Flowers said, “Probably
    something like ‘Go Celtics,’ or ‘Congratulations Celtics,’ because I’m a Lakers fan.”

    Flowers got some run here Monday night because he played college ball with Eagles quarterback Nick Foles at Arizona. He talked about how he still
    gets texts from guys in the Cincy locker room such as close friend Vincent Rey, rookie linebacker Jordan Evans, safety Josh Shaw and some
    missives from A.J. Green

    But he wanted to clear up one thing. Flowers objected to a story that surfaced a few weeks ago that implied he said his defensive coordinator in
    Cincy, Paul Guenther, never talked to him. On Monday night Flowers said he simply told the Providence Journal that Patriots defensive coordinator
    Matt Patricia had expressed confidence in him and that Guenther was the first guy to talk to him right after the trade went down just before the pre-
    season finale.

    “I did not say that,” Flowers said. “All I said was a (NFL) defensive coordinator has basically never told me in the terms that Coach Patricia told me
    that he believes that I can help the team win. That’s what I was saying. Obviously Paulie was the first person that talked to me after I got traded.
    Thanked me for everything. I have no hard feelings against Coach Paulie. He’s a great coach. It just didn’t work out. It happens sometimes. This
    league is like that with hundreds of players. So I’m not the first player, I’m not the first case. No hard feelings. Everything happens for a reason. I’m
    just happy to be in this spot with this organization with a chance to be crowned champion.”

    Flowers, athletic and fast, emerged as a special teams leader with the Bengals but he was frustrated that he didn’t play on defense. He played just
    two snaps there in 2016 after missing all of 2015 with an injury and logging 70 defensive snaps as a rookie. With the Super Bowl on the line against
    the Jags last week in the AFC title game, Flowers played 18 snaps as Patricia juggled injuries. He didn’t play a defensive down in five of his first
    seven games in New England and in Game 15 against the Steelers he played seven before working a career-high 55 against the Bills. He’s playing
    nearly half the time in the kicking game.

    If there’s anyone in Cincinnati who made sure Flowers reached this spot its fellow linebacker Vinny Rey, the veteran who took him under his wing
    when he arrived via the sixth round in the 2014 draft and still talks to him often.

    “I just talked to him tonight,” Flowers said. “Vinny’s my guy. He’s happy for me. He’s been there for me. I went through some tough days that were
    hard for me, kind of like he did, and he gave me some veteran leadership. Vinny’s a great locker room guy. Always there to help you on and off the

    If Flowers was frustrated with the Bengals there was some sense the Bengals were frustrated with him, too. Head coach Marvin Lewis benched him
    for a portion of a practice in the last training camp when he got close enough to No. 3 quarterback Jeff Driskel to slap the ball out of his hands.

    But they didn’t exile him when it looked like they weren’t going to keep him as one of the six backers at the final cut down with the addition of rookies Carl Lawson and Jordan Evans and the elevation of sophomore Nick Vigil to starting SAM. And Flowers was mature enough to know he's not the first
    guy that had to leave a place to find his place.

    “In the end, we have to go off of who we feel are going to be the guys that we keep here,” said Lewis then. “If somebody can have an opportunity

    somewhere else, then that’s a good thing for the player. Obviously the Patriots felt that (Flowers) may not get to them through waivers, so they traded something significant for him.”

    Like Flowers said, “Fresh start, clean slate.” He now has played for both Belichick and Lewis, the NFL’s two longest-tenured coaches with one team.

    “Obviously they are there for a reason,” Flowers said. “They stay with their routine. They know how to get guys to stay in their routine. Guys play hard for them.”

  2. #2
    I think this article upsets more than it helps me feel better for these guys. I'll never understand how they can't utilize a guy like Rex Burkhead. A walking mismatch with the way he runs routes out of the backfield and has the ability to run out of multiple different formations. Same thing they were doing with Gio this year, until injuries hit.

    Is Marvin batting like 1/50 on linebackers since he's been here? Sheesh.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by whodeyjc View Post
    I think this article upsets more than it helps me feel better for these guys. I'll never understand how they can't utilize a guy like Rex Burkhead. A walking mismatch with the way he runs routes out of the backfield and has the ability to run out of multiple different formations. Same thing they were doing with Gio this year, until injuries hit.

    Is Marvin batting like 1/50 on linebackers since he's been here? Sheesh.
    Right - I mean, Rex was making plays in the pass game back in that Indy playoff game. It's not like they didn't have proof of what he could do... and yes he got hurt some... but so did Peerman and Gio.

    Re Flowers I recall Marvin saying a few years back that Flowers was the most physically talented LB they had. For some reason, they never got it out of him.

  4. Flowers was hurt a lot a few seasons IIRC. Everyone likes Rex, but as the guy said, "there was no room for him".

  5. #5
    Rooting interest

    Posted Feb 1, 2018

    BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - The mutual respect is where to start with the four trades Mike Brown and Bill Belichick have pulled off during Belichick’s 18 seasons in Foxboro. A respect that begins with Bengals founder Paul Brown.

    Bengals president Mike Brown and Pats head coach Bill Belichick have been known to deal.

    BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - If the Patriots can keep the Eagles’ inexhaustible defensive line rotation away from quarterback Tom Brady in Sunday
    night’s Super Bowl, the headline is going to be New England head coach Bill Belichick joining George Halas and Curly Lambeau at the top of the list
    with six NFL championships.

    But this week Belichick, always quick to include Bengals founder Paul Brown in any snapshot of the league’s Mount Rushmore of coaches, did it
    again when he invoked Brown’s name in the same breath with Lambeau and Halas.

    The feeling is mutual.

    “My father was the best coach of his time and Bill is the best coach of his time,” Bengals president Mike Brown said this week. “In the late ‘40s and
    early ‘50s the Cleveland Browns were to the NFL what the Patriots are today. He saw that as a child raised in the Cleveland Browns area. He knew it
    and respected it and today he’s doing the same thing in Boston where he’s coaching the premier team in the league and has for a long time … I’ve
    always been appreciative of how he has commended my father.”

    On Wednesday, Belichick began one of his answers under the unyielding bright lights of this week offering his condolences on the December death of
    Pete Brown, Paul’s son, Mike’s brother, and the Bengals’ estimable personnel man. Pete Brown, who spent his entire life avoiding the spotlight, had
    the league’s biggest one trained on him in death.

    “That was sad news,” Belichick said. “I have a ton of respect for Mike and the organization and all they stand for and all they’ve done for us … He’s a
    great man, his family is great and they’ve done a lot for the league.”

    The mutual respect is where to start with the four trades Brown and Belichick have pulled off during Belichick’s 18 seasons in Foxboro. All kinds of

    Everything from Brown dealing him his all-time leading rusher (Corey Dillon) and all-time leading receiver (Chad Johnson) who had worn out their red
    carpet to this preseason trading a linebacker earmarked not to make the team (Marquis Flowers) for a seventh-rounder.

    “We have the ability to talk plainly and clearly with each other,” Mike Brown said. “I normally talk to Bill directly. What’s good about it is the two of us
    can sit down and make a deal and we don’t have to clear it. We just can do it. So that makes it easier to process.”

    Belichick has proven to be a fan of Bengals personnel under head coach Marvin Lewis and director of player personnel Duke Tobin, guys he’s also
    known forever and can get on the horn. Belichick is the only coach that has been with a team longer than Lewis in the current NFL.

    Forget First 50 Bengals like Dillon and Johnson. Belichick plucked his long-time fullback, James Develin, from the Bengals’ final 2012 cuts.
    Cornerback Troy Hill, an undrafted free agent in 2015, didn’t last nearly as long in Foxboro but Belichick worked on Christmas Day to bolster his
    depleted secondary when he lured Hill from the Bengals practice squad. Flowers, originally a special teamer for the Pats, has played as many as 55
    snaps from scrimmage in a game in certain packages.

    The Bengals traded Marquis Flowers to the Pats just before this season.

    And Belichick hasn’t shied away from Bengals free agents. Long before Patriot Nation became enraptured this season with running back Rex
    Burkhead’s blue-collar versatility, there was the injury aborted New England career of defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene.

    “I commend Bill’s ability to take these guys and use them in very productive fashion. They go up there and do well,” Brown said. “They use players to
    fit niches and it’s a very smart way of going about it.”

    One of those deals was a Draft Day call in 2012 that had been discussed during the week. Thanks to the Carson Palmer trade, the Bengals had
    already picked Alabama corner Dre Kirkpatrick at No. 17 and when Belichick came up to the Bengals at No. 21 to take pass rusher Chandler Jones,
    the Bengals slid to No. 27 for Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler, a staple of the Bengals’ four play-off teams the years he was there while picking up
    defensive tackle Brandon Thompson with an extra third.

    Belichick shrugged when it came to the question of deals. And, it really is simple. He said it’s a matter of both organizations being able to find a fair
    price for each other. Then he smiled and recalled the July 29, 2011 trade for Chad Johnson as the NFL Lockout ended.

    The Ocho to New England for a fifth-round pick in 2012 and a sixth-round pick in 2013. The Bengals found A.J. Green’s explosive running mate with
    that fifth-rounder in Cal wide receiver Marvin Lewis Jones while Johnson struggled getting synced up with Brady’s computer and had 15 catches in 15
    games with one TD during his lone season in New England.

    “Some of those have worked out maybe a little better for one side than the other,” Belichick said. “Certainly Mike got the best of the Chad Johnson
    trade. Still waiting for pay back on that one. I don’t think its coming.”

    But while Belichick has his Chad, Brown has his Dillon. Everyone knew Lewis and Brown were getting rid of Dillon after he ended the 2003 season
    throwing his equipment in the Paul Brown Stadium stands. Dillon just recovered his helmet back in December when he was honored as one of the
    club’s first 50 Bengals, but the Bengals took a little longer recovering from the trade.

    Brown did well to get a second-rounder from Belichick on April 19, 2004, five days before the draft. And Maryland safety/cornerback Madieu Williams
    was a good get before he injured his shoulder late in his second season. Meanwhile, Dillon carried the Patriots to the Super Bowl title over these
    Eagles with a career year of more than 1,600 yards. The last two years in Foxboro weren’t so pretty, but 2004 was a Picasso.

    “We both made moves to improve our teams,” Brown said. “We didn’t have room for a player or a player wasn’t manageable with us. He had a keen
    eye on all that. He would spot his opportunity. He’s been effective in the deals he’s made with us. Believe me; I wouldn’t say we’ve done any better
    than he has.”

    Brown thought the Johnson move was a bold stroke. He thinks it stems from a 2009 pre-season game in Foxboro that Johnson not only played well,
    but kicked the winning PAT in a 7-6 game kicker Shayne Graham got hurt.

    Bill Belichick has a Paul Brown connection.

    “Let’s not forget that Chad was a tremendous player with unusual quickness. There were a few years when he was right at the top of the receiver
    corps in the NFL,” Brown said. “I think he saw that game where Chad had a real good performance, he kicked off, he kicked an extra point. All that
    may have caught Bill’s eye.”

    They are talking about Halas and Lambeau and Brown this week. But they may as well be talking about Bill Edwards.

    On Wednesday, Belichick recalled how he and his father, Steve Belichick, a player and coach under Edwards, visited Browns training camp when
    Paul Brown was the head coach. Edwards, Bill Belichick’s godfather, was the connection as a high school teammate of Paul Brown in the early ‘20s.

    “We have a long history. Bill Edwards and my dad were kids together in Massillon, Ohio,” Mike Brown said. “Bill was the big-time player of that group
    of kids … Bill Edwards was a big, strong burly guy. He would have to be considered the star player … Bill’s (Belichick) dad was part of his staff (at

    Belichick recalled getting to know Mike Brown during his days coaching the Browns for four seasons in the early ‘90s, a run that began in 1992, a
    year after Paul Brown’s death. He admitted there was “a strain,” being in the same division, but the AFC East has no such conflict with the AFC

    “I’ve got a ton of respect for Mike and his contribution to the game and his background in football,’ Belichick said. “And his role of leadership in the
    league at a lot of levels. Player organization. Playing rules.”

    How many NFL games has Brown watched in his 82 years? Enough that he always seems to end up rooting for one of the teams for a variety of
    reasons. He’ll have one in mind Sunday.

    “I find myself rooting for Bill when I watch his team play,” Brown said. “We can trace back to our histories. He knows it and I know it.”

  6. #6
    Dang it, that failed Hail Mary cost me $100.

  7. #7
    Still mad they cut Elliott.

  8. me too...

  9. #9
    Heck of a game. Now we wait..

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    After last night, there are now twelve teams who have never won a SuperBowl.


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