Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Can The NFC South Rise Again?

New Orleans Saints

The Saints have been a bit of a mystery the last two seasons. They show promise and talent, but have fallen well short of proving their worth in the NFL.

Drew Brees 2008 season was special, and New Orleans will be beyond blessed if the quarterback comes even close to matching it in 2009.

The running game has been what has held the Saints back from going far. The blockers have done well in pass defense, but will need to step it up in the rushing attack.

Reggie Bush has done fairly well receiving the ball, but has shown that he is not the cowbell the team needs so far. He is a back who usually goes down on first contact, and has rarely shown why the Saints drafted him so high in the first place.

The key to the season may rest on the shoulders of Pierre Thomas. Thomas has shown glimpses of being special, but has yet been given the duties to display that promise more than a few times. If he gets the Saints 1,000 yards this season, the team will be hard to defeat in their division.

New Orleans has shown they can toss the ball around the field as good as anyone in the league. They did this in 2008 with their top receiver injured for most of it, and their tight end having his own issues.

With Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey at full health, it could open up things even more for Robert Meachem, Lance Moore, and Devery Henderson. Rookie Adrian Arrington will also push for a roster spot on a deep group.

The Saints other weakness has been defense. They took one step in the right direction by acquiring Jonathan Vilma, a tackling machine who mans their MLB slot. This year they added veteran SS Darren Sharper and DE Paul Spicer, along with CB Malcolm Jenkins, their 2009 first round draft pick.

The Saints hope Jenkins can team up with Tracy Porter to give them the CB tandem the franchise has sought most of their existence in the league. If the duo is, then veteran Randall Gay's versatility to play FS comes in handy for quality depth.

The kicking game is also something to pay attention to. Garrett Hartley took over the job in the tenth game of 2008, and the rookie was perfect the rest of the way. If he can come close to that again will help, but it remains to be seen if he will. Rookie Thomas Morstead is expected to win the punting job, though Glenn Pakulak is the incumbent who also was a rookie in 2008 and didn't play until the tenth game of the season.

The Saints still have a few "ifs" going into 2009, though perhaps a few less than the 2008 season. Regardless, it is better to have those "ifs" than to be the "Aints".


Carolina's big off season news has been regarding the future of star DE Julius Peppers. Peppers is a man who grew up and was schooled in North Carolina. Peppers is still on the roster, so the fans can focus on an excellent draft class coming in to 2009.

The Panthers are about winning the battle in the trenches, and they really helped themselves on both sides of the ball. Tony Fiametti is a FB who could supplant long time starter Brad Hoover this year. Whomever gets the call, they will lead block for a potentially explosive threesome at running back.

Carolina already has a dynamic duo in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, but they may have stolen a gem in speedster Mike Goodson from the draft. Goodson can develop into a game changing pass catcher and return specialist, if he realizes his potential.

The passing game revolves around WR Steve Smith. If the ultra productive star can get some help, the Panthers get much more dangerous. Dwayne Jarrett has been a huge bust so far, and the team hopes that he or another guy can push 36 year old Muhsin Muhammed for playing time. With the fact they haven't gotten much production from the TE spot, this need intensifies.

The blocking was stout in 2008, and they may have gotten tougher with monstrous G Duke Robinson. He could be the steal of the Panthers draft, and might team up with RT Jeff Otah to give the Panthers a couple of men who make pancakes all day on Sunday.

If Peppers does indeed leave this season, rookie Everette Brown will have to step up faster. Brown is an undersized pass rush specialist who could excel if he has Peppers to bookend him.

The inside defense has been sporadic, but Carolina has Jon Beason at MLB cleaning up the mistakes. The LB unit is not deep, so an injury could be disastrous for the team.

The Panthers did get better at safety in the draft, an area in need, when they selected Sherrod Martin. Martin is a FS type with CB skills, but is very raw. Head Coach John Fox and Defensive Coordinator Ron Meeks will be busy trying to get him, and fellow rookies Brown and DT Corey Irvin ready to contribute right away.

Opponents know Carolina plans to mash the running game down their throats, as well as throw to Steve Smith several times each game. The only shot they have at beating the Panthers is to expose the weaknesses Carolina has on defense and the passing attack. This can be hard to do if Carolina controls the clock, which is their best strategy.


The Falcons shocked the NFL in 2008. Many thought the team would have trouble winning five games, but they ended up winning eleven. It was done with a rookie coach, a rookie quarterback, and a running back being counted on as the primary ball carrier for the first time in his five year career.

The Falcons, liking the potential they saw, then went out and acquired future Hall Of Fame TE Tony Gonzales. Gonzales will not only open up things for WR's like Roddy White, Harry Douglas, and Michael Jenkins, but he will provide QB Matt Ryan with a security blanket better than most young Falcons passers have had in the teams history.

The only offensive questions left are if RB Michael Turner can hold up and come close to last years production, where he virtually carried the team on his back, or if Ryan will succumb to the all too well known sophomore jinx.

Defense was the main concern before 2008, but the Falcons still found a way to win. DE John Abraham had a spectacular season, and Atlanta hopes he and his bookend, Jamaal Anderson, can do even more as a tandem this year. The Falcons DT's scared no one last year, so they went out and drafted two this year. Peria Jerry was the teams first selection, and he will be given every chance to start day one.

Linebacker is a big concern. Keith Brooking has left town, so Atlanta doesn't have much after Curtis Lofton and veteran Mike Peterson. Lofton was solid in his rookie campaign last year, but Peterson is an unknown. He had a falling out in Jacksonville last season, and his production noticeably slipped. He is also moving from MLB to SLB for the 2009 year, a position he hasn't played since 2002 for the Indianapolis Colts. He also hasn't played a full season since 2005.

Perhaps Atlanta will be watching the waiver wire, since they have yet to show interest in free agents like Derrick Brooks. Brooks would be a good fit in Atlanta, and provide leadership, but the team might not be able to afford him after sinking so much cash into Ryan's huge salary.

Another area to watch is the extremely young secondary. Starting FS Erik Coleman is the graybeard of the group at 27 years old, and entering his sixth season. The next oldest player, CB Von Hutchins, is entering his fifth year. Mistakes are a big possibility for the unit.

Most doubt the Falcons will even come close to their 2008 success, but that is the way they want it. Doubt them, overlook them, and disregard them. Just like 2008. It worked fine for them then, so who is to say it wouldn't again?


Tampa Bay went 9-7 last year, which would have been good enough to win the NFC West. It was only good enough to finish third in their division, so it cost Jon Gruden his job as coach.

Now Tampa Bay is moving away from all past philosophies. No longer will they employ a West Coast offense, nor the Tampa - 2 defense. They will try to line up man to man and beat down their opponents.

One reason is because the Buccaneers have a young and excellent offensive line. No starter is older than 27, and they also have good depth. There is a question if starting LG Arron Sears is suffering from post-concussion effects, and if he will be ready to play any time soon.

Though the team has yet to decide on whether Brian Leftwich or Luke McCown start at quarterback, or if 2009 first round draft pick Josh Freeman is in the mix yet. Regardless, the QB will have a few weapons to work with.

Tampa picked up TE Kellen Winslow Jr. and RB Derrick Ward, as well as raised the salaries of Winslow and WR Antonio Bryant. This spending spree was big news, because the Buccaneers are dead last in salary spending the past five years. In contrast, the Dallas Cowboys have spent $117.8 million more than them over this time.

Winslow and Jerramy Stevens should give the Bucs a nice duo TE threat, especially in the jumbo packages they plan to run. Winslow's ability to line up in the slot will give other teams issues. That, with a running game led by Earnest Graham and Ward, spells all the makings for a good ball control offense.

The defense is the question. They will be moving 2008 starting SS Jermaine Phillips into the WLB slot, as well as hoping 34 year old CB Ronde Barber can cover man to man. There isn't much depth in the secondary, and the pair of safeties lined up to start are guys who take bad angles and get burned often. If Barber struggles, and the safeties don't get over in time, the possibility of big pass plays by opponents are even more likely.

The defensive line is in transition as well. They did draft two big men in DT Roy Miller and DE Kyle Moore this year, but they will need an improved pass rush from Gaines Adams and Stylez G. White. The pair combined for just 11.5 sacks last year. Now that the team has moved away from ex-defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin's gap penetration schemes to lining up head to head on opponents, this pass rush need becomes even more magnified.

Another battle worth watching is the kicker position. Matt Bryant is coming off a career year, which he dedicated to his three month old son who had passed away a few weeks into the season. He scored a career best 131 points, and kicked three game winning field goals. He will have to battle for his job against Mike Nugent, a four year veteran who was a second round draft pick of the New York Jets in 2005.

The Buccaneers have mostly been decent on defense since they drafted Hall Of Fame DE Lee Roy Selmon in 1976. This will be the first season in a long time the Bucs will come in appearing so possibly shaky.

These issues could be hidden if the offense plays up to their potential and controls the clock. If they underachieve, an issue many of the key players they are counting on have done at one time or another in their career, the defense could be exposed early and often.

Tampa Bay goes into 2009 as a bit of an enigma who is capable of winning their division, or ending up in last place. If they struggle, you may see the rookie QB Freeman playing before the Bucs initially had planned to break him in.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Want To Learn How To Catch A Football?

It is real easy.

Coaches and players here is your chance to learn from one of the most accomplished NFL player and coach the game has ever seen.

Raymond Berry's Receiving Fundamentals DVD breaks down the four main jobs a receiver must master.

A educational, entertaining and inspirational way to learn the fundamentals of the wide receiver position.

Includes exclusive practice film and game shots.

Watch Berry run the routes in color film in practice with an iso camera on him.

Then watch the famed Unitas to Berry combo in action.

In this DVD, over 90% of the passes thrown to Berry are from Unitas.

"I do not know of anyone who is more qualified on pass receiving than Raymond Berry." -Tom Landry, Legendary Head Coach Dallas Cowboys & Hall of Fame member

"Every receiver will benefit from Raymond Berry's route and receiving techniques." - Peyton Manning, QB Indianapolis Colts

One of Berry's more notable performances was in the 1958 NFL Championship Game, known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played," in which he caught a championship - record 12 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown.

During the Colts' final game-winning drive in overtime, Berry had two key receptions for 33 yards.

Berry fumbled only 1 time in his 13 year career.

Raymond Emmett Berry played for the Baltimore Colts during their two NFL championship wins. He later had a career in coaching, highlighted by his trip to Super Bowl XX as head coach of the New England Patriots. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

NFL career

Berry, who played with special shoes because one of his legs was shorter than the other, was beset with poor eyesight and had less-than-blazing speed, seemed an unlikely future star prior to his NFL career.

He didn't start on his high-school team until he was a senior, even though his father was the coach.

Berry went on to catch only 33 passes in his three seasons at Southern Methodist University before being selected by the Colts in the 20th round of the 1954 NFL draft.

However, Berry became a permanent starter on the team by his second NFL season, and didn't miss a single game until his eighth year in the league.

During his career, he led the NFL in receptions three times, and was selected to the Pro Bowl six times, from 1957-61 and in 1965. He also made the all-NFL team from 1958-1960.

Berry was considered the very identity of the great Colts' teams of the 1950s and 1960s (along with Johnny Unitas, Alan Ameche, Lenny Moore, John Mackey, Gino Marchetti, Art Donovan and Jim Parker).He was famous for his attention to detail and preparation.

He and quarterback John Unitas regularly worked after practice and developed the timing and knowledge of each other's abilities that made each more effective. In addition to his great record as a pass receiver,

Berry's dedication to his craft is demonstrated by the fact that, in a 13-year career, he fumbled the football only once.

One of Berry's most notable performances was in the 1958 NFL Championship Game, known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played," in which he caught a championship-record 12 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown.

During the Colts' final game-winning drive in overtime, Berry had two key receptions for 33 yards.

Raymond Berry ended his NFL career in 1967 with an NFL record 631 receptions for 9,275 yards and 68 touchdowns (14.7 yards per catch).

In 1973, Berry was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

In 1999, he was ranked No. 40 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.

Coaching career

Barry first was an assistant coach with the Dallas Cowboys from 1967 to 1968.

After stepping away from the game to do a project, he returned to coach at Arkansas University for three seasons.

He joined the Detroit Lions as an assistant coach after that, and stayed there for three more years before joining the Cleveland Browns.

Berry left the Browns a few years later, andjoined the New England Patriots as receivers coach under Chuck Fairbanks in 1978.

He stayed on with new coach Ron Erhardt until Erhardt and his entire staff were fired following a 2-14 1981 season.

Berry left football and worked in the private sector in Medfield, MA until the Patriots fired Ron Meyer in the middle of the 1984 season and hired Berry to replace him.

Under his leadership, the Patriots won 4 of their last 8 games and finished the season with an 9-7 record.

Berry's importance to the team was reflected less in his initial win-loss record than in the respect he immediately earned in the locker room - "Raymond Berry earned more respect in one day than Ron Meyer earned in three years," according to running back Tony Collins.

In the 1985 season, the team did even better, recording an 11-5 record and making the playoffs as a wildcard team.

They went on to become the first team in NFL history ever to advance to the Super Bowl by winning 3 playoff games on the road, defeating New York Jets 26-14, the Los Angeles Raiders, 27-20, and the Miami Dolphins 31-14.

New England's win against Miami was particularly surprising because the Patriots had not beaten the Dolphins at the Orange Bowl (Miami's then home stadium) since 1966, in Miami's first AFL season.

The Patriots had lost to the Dolphins there 18 consecutive times, including a 30-27 loss in week 15 of the regular season.

In addition, the Dolphins had recorded an AFC best 12-4 record and had been the only team during the season to defeat the Chicago Bears, who had stormed to the top of the NFC with a 15-1 record and advanced to the Super Bowl by shutting out both their opponents in the playoffs.

But despite the Patriots success in the playoffs, they proved unable to compete with the Bears in Super Bowl XX, losing 46-10 in what was at the time the most lopsided defeat in Super Bowl history. "We couldn't protect the quarterback, and that was my fault. I couldn't come up with a system to handle the Bears' pass rush," Berry acknowledged.

The following season, Berry's Patriots again recorded an 11-5 record and made the playoffs, but this time lost in the first round of the postseason. This would be the last time the Patriots would make the playoffs with Berry as their coach. They narrowly missed the playoffs with an 8-7(during a strike shortened season) record in 1987, and a 9-7 record in 1988. Then in Berry's last year as a coach, the Patriots finished the 1989 season 5-11.

New Patriots team owner Victor Kiam demanded Berry relinquish control over personnel and reorganize his staff. Berry refused and was fired.

Berry's overall coaching record is 48 wins and 39 losses, and 3-2 in the playoffs.

He then joined the Detroit Lions in 1991 to work with the quarterbacks.

After starter Rodney Peete was lost for the season, due to injury, free agent Erik Kramer led the Lions to the NFC Championship Game. After the Lions loss, Berry retired from coaching.


Raymond Berry Led the NFL in yardage three times.

Raymond Berry Led the NFL in receptions three times.

Led the NFL in TD receptions twice.

Became all-time leading receiver in his 10th season.

Raymond Berry had ONLY ONE fumble in his 13 years in the NFL.

In 1973 Berry was elected in his first year of eligibility to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

In 1994 the NFL celebrated its first 75 years by naming the NFL All Time Team. The four receivers selected were: Don Hutson, Raymond Berry, Lance Alworth and Jerry Rice.

Raymond Berry was a member of two world championship teams with the Baltimore Colts.

Raymond Berry was Selected to 6 Pro Bowls.

After his playing career Raymond Berry coached for 22 years, 6 years as the Head Coach of the New England Patriots.

In 1985 Raymond Berry took New England to their first Super Bowl, and was voted Coach of the Year by the Vince Lombardi Committee.

Along with Mike Ditka and Forrest Gregg became one of only 3 to be selected to the 75th Anniversary team as a player and later coach his team to the Super Bowl.


This was posted with the approval of Mr. Berry

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The ALMOST All-Time New England Patriots Offense

QUARTERBACK : Babe Parilli

Babe was the Green Bay Packers first round draft choice in the 1952 draft, the fourth player chosen overall.

Parilli spent his first two seasons with the Packers mostly serving as a backup, though he did start in nine games total.

He was also the punter in his rookie year, with a career best 65 attempts at a 40.7 average.

He tossed the longest pass in the NFL during his rookie year, a career best 90 yards. He also led the NFL with an 18.7 yards gained per completion.

He mostly struggled during those first two seasons, throwing 36 interceptions against 17 touchdowns. He also punted the ball just 19 times in his second year.

The Packers would trade him to the Cleveland Browns for the 1956 season.

In his lone season in Cleveland, he started three of the five games he played. He ended back with the Packers the next year.

He lasted two more years with Green Bay, serving as a backup. He then bolted for the Canadian Football League to play with the Ottawa Rough Riders for the 1959 season.

The AFL started up in 1960, and Parilli joined the Oakland Raiders. While there, he backed up future Raiders coach Tom Flores. He did start two games, and won one game.

In the offseason, the Raiders and Patriots completed a five player trade, and Parilli ended up in Boston.

He started eight games that season, and led the AFL with a 52.5 completion percentage. The Patriots would go on to play in the AFL Championship Game, but lose.

In 1962, Parilli started in all ten games he played, tossing 18 touchdowns versus eight interceptions. His 3.2 interception percentage led the AFL. The Patriots finished their season 10-3-1, the best record the team had until 1976.

Now the Patriots starting quarterback, Parilli made his first Pro Bowl in 1963.

He repeated that honor the next year, when he led the AFL with a career best 3,465 yards passing.

He also led the AFL with 31 touchdown passes, a franchise record that stood until Tom Brady broke it in the 2007 season.

His 247.5 passing yards per game led the AFL, as did his 27 interceptions. He also punted the ball the last five times of his career.

In one game that season, versus Oakland, Parilli threw for 422 yards and four touchdowns.

Parilli was named to his last Pro Bowl in 1966, where he ended up being named the games MVP.

He started in eleven games the next year, and tossed an AFL long pass of 79 yards. He then joined the New York Jets.

While with the Jets, he backed up Hall Of Famer Joe Namath for two seasons. His primary duty was as a holder on kicks. It a skill he was so good at,that he was dubbed " Gold Finger".

He earned a Super Bowl ring in 1968, when the Jets beat the Baltimore Colts. He retired after the 1969 season.

His team records have all been surpassed, except his 27 interception season. That mark was equaled by Drew Bledsoe in 1994.

Real Patriot fans know of "The Grand Opera". This was from the teamwork that Parilli and Gino Cappelletti had in the passing and kicking game.

Parilli is a member of the Patriots All-Time 1960's Team, and is a member of the Patriots Hall Of Fame.

Babe Parilli is one of the best to have ever taken the field in a Patriots uniform, and he is one of just 20 players to have played in every game of the AFL's existence.

Steve Grogan, Drew Bledsoe, and Mike Taliaferro all deserve mention.

FULLBACK : Jim Nance

Jim was drafted in the fourth round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, the 45th player chosen, and in the 19th round by the Patriots in the AFL Draft, the 151st player chosen.

He elected to join the Patriots, and spent his rookie year mostly blocking. He carried the ball 111 times, scoring five times.

Nance broke loose the next year, leading the AFL with 299 carries for 1,458 yards, 11 rushing touchdowns, 1,561 total yards, and an average of 104.1 yards rushing per game.

All were career highs, as was his 4.9 yards per carry average, and his 65 yard run that season.

He was named the AFL Most Valuable Player, and went to the Pro Bowl.

Nance led the AFL again the following year with 269 carries for 1,216 yards. His 86.7 yards rushing per game also led the league, and he scored eight touchdowns. One came off a reception, the only time he ever scored via the air.

He was named to his final Pro Bowl that year.

Nance is the only AFL player to have run for over 1,400 yards, and to have consecutive seasons of rushing for over a thousand yards.

He missed two games because of injury in 1968, but managed to carry the ball 177 times and scoring five times.

Nance led the AFL with 193 carries the next season, and scored six times. He was named the AFL Comeback Player Of The Year that season.

He scored seven times the next year, and five in 1971.

He was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles after that year, but opted to retire instead.

He came back to the NFL in 1973, joining the New York Jets. He carried the ball 18 times for 78 yards over a span on seven games.

In 1974, the World Football League was starting up. Nance decided to join the Houston Texans. The Texans would later become the Shreveport Steamers towards the end of their first season.

Nance ran for 1,240 yards that year in 20 games, then ran for 767 yards the following season in 12 games. The WFL folded before the season could be completed.

His 2,007 yards on 490 carries is the most in WFL history.

Jim Nance ran for 45 touchdowns with the Patriots, and this is still the most in franchise history.

He is a member of the Patriots Hall Of Fame, the Patriots 35th Anniversary Team, and the Patriots All-Time 1960's Team.

Jim Nance is considered by many to be the best running back in Patriots history.

Sam "The Bam" Cunningham was seriously considered. He is still the Patriots franchise rushing yards leader, and retired with the most total touchdowns scored by a Patriots player.

Mosi Tatupu was a good player who excelled also on special teams. He made the Pro Bowl once, and led the NFL in yards rushing per attempt in 1983.

HALFBACK : Larry Garron

Garron joined the Patriots in 1960 as an undrafted free agent rookie.

He only carried the ball eight times that season, playing in four games.

Garron exploded in the AFL in 1961. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry on 86 attempts, including a career long 85 yard run. He caught 24 passes, and scored six times total.

One of his touchdowns came on a 89 yard kickoff return. Garron was named to the Pro Bowl.

He stood 6' and weighed 195 lbs, but the Patriots moved him to fullback for the 1962 season. H averaged a career high 5.9 yards per carry on 67 attempts, and caught 18 balls. He scored six times.

One of his touchdowns came on a career long 95 yard kickoff return, the last of his career. He returned 26 kickoffs at an impressive 28.6 yards per return average.

He returned to the Pro Bowl in 1963, after he ran for a career high 750 yards on 175 carries. He also caught 26 balls and scored four times. He took one pass for a career long 76 yards.

Garron returned a career high 28 kickoffs that year, at a 24.8 yards per return average. He also returned the only punt of his career 23 yards.

His 1,884 total yards led the AFL in 1963.

He returned to the Pro Bowl in 1964, after catching a career high 40 balls for seven touchdowns. He also ran for 585 yards on a career high 183 carries, scoring twice.

Though Garron returned ten kickoffs that year, he would only return nine more for the rest of his career.

He was moved back to halfback in 1965, and he ran the ball 74 times and caught 15 passes.

Though the bulk of the work was going to AFL MVP Jim Nance, Garron managed to run the ball 101 times and catch 30 passes in 1966. He scored nine times.

The 1967 season was the last time Garron would be named to the Pro Bowl. He caught 30 balls at an impressive 16.9 yards per catch average, and ran 47 times. He scored five times.

His last year in football was 1968. He played just four games. He ran the ball 36 times, and scored the last touchdown of his career.

Babe Parilli once said Garron was the best pass catching back he ever saw play. Garron's career average of 13.5 yards per reception on 185 catches and 26 touchdowns caught show his excellence.

His four Pro Bowls are the most by any Patriots running back in franchise history.

Larry Garron is a member of the Patriots Al-Time 1960's team as both a running back and return specialist.

John Stephens, Carl Garrett, Craig James, Robert Edwards, and Curtis Martin all deserve mention.

WIDE RECEIVER : Stanley Morgan

Stanley was the Patriots first round draft pick in 1977, the 25th player chosen overall.

He started right away, catching 21 passes for 443 yards and three touchdowns. He also returned 16 punts for 220 yards.

In the 1978 season, Morgan averaged a whopping 24.1 yards per catch on 34 receptions and scored five times. He also returned a career high 32 punts for 335 yards.

He was the top deep threat in the NFL then, and his next three seasons showed exactly that. He led the NFL in yards per catch each of those years.

He led the NFL with 12 touchdown receptions in 1979, getting 1,002 yards on 44 catches. He also scored on an 80 yard punt return, on 29 attempts.

He was named to his first Pro Bowl that year, and would garner the same honor the very next season in 1980. He had 45 catches for 991 yards and six scores.

Morgan was hurt for three games the next season, but he was able to snare 44 balls for 1, 029 yards and six touchdowns.

Though he had 58 catches in 1983, he had career lows of two touchdowns and a 14.9 yards per catch average. He had 78 catches at a 19 yard per catch average, with ten touchdowns, over the next two seasons.

The 1985 season saw the Patriots advance to Super Bowl XX, where he caught six passes in the loss.

Morgan returned to the Pro Bowl in 1986, after catching a career high 84 passes for 1,491 yards. He also scored ten times.

He made his last Pro Bowl in the strike shortened season of 1987. He had 40 receptions and three touchdowns in ten games.

After 31 receptions the next year, Morgan missed six games in 1989. He had 28 receptions, and scored three times. The Patriots then released him.

He joined the Indianapolis Colts for the 1990 season. Used mostly as an extra receiver, caught 23 balls and scored five times. He then retired.

Morgan's 67 touchdowns are the most in Patriots history, as is hid 10, 352 yards receiving. His 534 receptions were a team record until Troy Brown passed him by 23 in 2006.

Morgans 1,491 yards receiving in 1986 was a team record until Randy Moss passed it by two yards in 2007.

His 84 receptions in 1986 was a team record until Ben Coates surpassed it in 1994, and is still ranked the ninth most in New England history.

Stanley is a future CCC profilee, and I am hopeful he soon gets his respect and is inducted into Canton soon.

Stanley Morgan is a member of the Patriots Hall Of Fame, the Patriots 35th Anniversary Team, the Patriots All-Time 1970's Team, and the Patriots All-Time 1980's Team.

I had to put him on this team, because he is easily the greatest wide receiver in Patriots history. The fact that he averaged 19.4 yards per catch on 554 receptions is more than truly incredible.


Troy was drafted by the Patriots in the eighth round in 1993, the 198th player chosen overall.

He was used mainly as a return specialist his first two seasons. He caught two passes in the 21 games he played, while returning 49 punts and 16 kickoffs over that time.

Brown had 14 receptions in 1995, while returning a career high 31 kickoffs. He had 21 receptions the next year, while returning 29 kickoffs. He also returned a fumble 75 yards for the first touchdown of his career.

Now in his fifth year in the NFL, Brown became a bigger part of the Patriots passing game. He accumulated 41 receptions and scored the first six receiving touchdowns of his career.

He had an injury plagued 1998 season, catching 23 balls for a score, and returning 17 punts.

He caught 36 balls for a score the next year, and returned 38 punts. He also returned eight kickoffs for a career best 33.9 return average. He would return just three kickoffs the rest of his career.

Brown returned a career high 39 punts in 2000, scoring once on a 66 yard return. He also caught 83 balls for 944 yards and four touchdowns.

The 2001 season was Brown's best year in the NFL, and he made his only Pro Bowl that year. He caught 101 passes for 1,199 yards, both career high marks, and five touchdowns. He also ran the ball a career best 11 times for 91 yards.

Brown led the NFL with a 14.2 yards per punt return average in that 1991 season. He also led the NFL with two touchdowns returned off of punt returns. He took one a career long 85 yards.

His importance to New England was evident, as he led them to a Super Bowl appearance when he returned a punt for a touchdown in the AFC Championship Game. He also gathered a blocked punt, and lateraled it to a Antwan Harris for a score.

The Patriots would go on to win Super Bowl XXXVI.

Brown excelled the next year as well, catching 97 passes and scoring three times. He also 24 punts.

His last year as the Patriots primary punt returner was in 2003. He missed four games due to injury, yet he took 29 returns for 293 yards. His role as a receiver was reduced, as he gathered in 40 balls. One reception went for a career long 82 yards.

His contributions helped the Patriots eventually win Super Bowl XXXVIII.

New England would repeat as champions the next year, and Brown's legend grew in that season. Despite missing four games because of injuries, his value spoke volumes.

Though he caught just 17 balls and one touchdown, he was asked to play cornerback when New England's secondary was decimated by injury.

Brown intercepted three passes, and returned them for 22 yards. He also recovered two fumbles.

Injuries cost Brown three games in 2005, but he was able to catch 39 passes and score twice.

In 2006, he caught the last 43 balls of his career, and scored four times. He also caused a turnover at a crucial junction of a playoff game, which allowed the Patriots to advance to the AFC Championship Game.

Though Brown was on the Patriots roster in 2007, he appeared in just one game and contributed no statistics. He retired after that season.

Troy's 557 receptions are the most in Patriots history, and his 6,366 receiving yards are the second most.

His 252 punt returns for 2,625 yards and three scores are the most in franchise history.

I expect Troy Brown to soon be named to the Patriots Hall Of Fame, because he is one of the best football players in the teams history.

Gino Cappelletti surely deserves mention. Ron Sellers also deserves a nod, as does Art Graham, Terry Glenn, Randy Vataha, Shawn Jefferson, Irving Fryar, and Jim Colclough.

TIGHT END : Ben Coates

Ben was drafted by the Patriots in the fifth round of the 1991 draft, the 121st player chosen overall.

He was brought along slowly in his first two seasons. catching 30 total passes and four touchdowns.

Business began to pick up for Coates in 2003, when Bill Parcells was named head coach of the Patriots. Parcells had a rookie quarterback in Drew Bledsoe, and is known for his wanting to get the tight end heavily involved in the offensive scheme.

Coates grabbed 53 balls, and scored eight times that season.

He led the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI in 1995, after setting an NFL record of 96 receptions by a tight end. This record stood until 2004.

He also gained 1,174 yards and scored eight times. Though the Patriots lost in the Super Bowl, Coates scored a touchdown on six receptions.

He was named First Team All-NFL, and went to his first Pro Bowl.

Coates followed that up with 84 catches in 1996, scoring six times. He again was named First Team All-NFL, and went the Pro Bowl.

Coates had a career best nine touchdowns the next season, on 62 receptions, and took one pass a career long 84 yards. He was named to the Pro Bowl again.

He went back to the Pro Bowl in 1998, catching 66 passes and scoring eight times.

His last Pro Bowl year was in 1999, when he caught 67 balls and scored six times.

Coates last year with the Patriots was in 2000. He caught 32 balls, and scored the last two touchdowns of his career.

The Patriots cut him, so he signed with the Baltimore Ravens.

Coates was used as a backup that year, catching nine passes, as the Ravens would go on to win Super Bowl XXXV. He then retired.

His 490 receptions with New England is the most by any tight end in Patriots history, as is his 5,471 yards and 50 touchdowns.

Ben Coates is a member of the Patriots Hall Of Fame, the NFL 1990's All-Decade Team, and the Patriots All-Time 1990's Team.

Jim Whalen, Russ Francis, Marv Cook were all Pro Bowl players, and deserve mention.

CENTER : Jon Morris

Jon was drafted in the second round of the 1964 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, the 27th player chosen overall, and in the fourth round of the AFL Draft by the Patriots, the 29th player chosen overall.

He opted to play with the Patriots, and started right away. He made the Pro Bowl his rookie year, and was named the Patriots Rookie Of The Year.

Morris would begin a string of seven consecutive Pro Bowl appearances that year, and he was named First Team All-Pro in 1966.

He was injured in 1972, missing one game and breaking his 124 consecutive games played and started streak.

After starting the first two games in 1973, he was injured for the rest of the year and was able to suit up for just three games the following season.

The Patriots released him after that year, so he joined the Detroit Lions.

Morris would end up starting all 42 games the Lions played over the next three seasons. He then joined the Chicago Bears for the 1978 season, and played as a reserve for ten games. He then retired.

Jon's seven Pro Bowls are the second most in Patriots franchise history, behind Hall Of Famer John Hannah's nine games.

He is a member of the American Football League All- Time Team, behind Hall Of Famer Jim Otto, and is the only Patriots offensive player to garner this award.

He is a member of the Patriots 35th Anniversary Team, and the Patriots All-Time 1960's Team.

Though his jersey won't ever be retired, because it is the same number as Hall Of Famer Andre Tippett, I find it absolutely amazing he has yet to be put into the Patriots Hall Of Fame.

Jon Morris is far and away the best center in Patriots history, and might be the second best offensive lineman they ever had.

GUARD : Charley Long

Charley was the Patriots eighth round draft pick in 1961, the 58th player chosen overall. He started his career at offensive tackle on the left side, and became a starter.

He made the Pro Bowl in 1962, the first Patriots offensive tackle to ever achieve this honor.

The Patriots moved him to guard on the left side the next year, and he would remain there for the rest of his career. He also went back to the Pro Bowl in that 1964 season.

Long continued to man that spot until 1967. He then started in three of the thirteen games he played in during the 1968 season and decided to retire.

Charley Long is a member of the Patriots All-Time 1960's team, though he is listed at offensive tackle on that team.

GUARD : Billy Neighbors

Billy was drafted in the sixth round of the 1962 AFL Draft by the Patriots, the 46th player chosen overall, and in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, the 43rd player chosen overall.

He started immediately for the Patriots and was in the Pro Bowl by his second season.

Neighbors was named First Team All-AFL in 1964, and stayed with the Patriots until the end of the 1965 season.

He joined the Miami Dolphins in 1966, and started in ten of the fourteen games he played.

After starting in each of the next two seasons, Neighbors started in five games in 1969.

He then retired from the game.

Billy Neighbors is a member of the Patriots All-Time 1960's Team, and he is the first Patriots lineman to ever be named First Team All Pro.

Lee St. Jean and Charley Leo deserve mention, and were Pro Bowl players. Sam Adams was also an excellent player.

TACKLE : Brian Holloway

Brian was the Patriots first round draft pick in 1981, the 19th played picked overall that year.

He played mostly as a reserve his rookie year, but did start in five games. He then would start in every game he played in New England for the rest of his career.

Holloway made his first Pro Bowl in 1983, and would achieve this honor twice more until 1985.

He helped the Patriots reach Super Bowl XX in 1985, where they would lose.

His last year with the Patriots was in 1986, and he caught the only pass of his career for five yards. He was named by the Newspaper Ent. Association to their All-NFL First team.

He joined the Raiders in 1987, and started in eight of the twelve games he played. He then played in two games the next year and retired.

Brian Halloway is a member of the Patriots All-Time 1980's Team.

Don Oakes and Tom Neville were Pro Bowl players, and deserve mention.

TACKLE : Bruce Armstrong

Bruce was the Patriots first round draft pick in 1987, the 23rd player chosen overall.

He would start in all twelve games he played in his rookie year, as well as start in every game he played in during his career.

He made his first Pro Bowl in 1990, and would repeat that honor the next year.

Armstrong suffered a knee injury eight games into 1992, and missed the rest of the season. Those would be the last games he ever missed for the rest of his career.

He returned to the Pro Bowl in 1994, and would repeat this honor the next four seasons until 1997.

He helped lead the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI in 1995, where they lost.

Bruce manned the Left Offensive Tackle position until 2000, when he retired.

His six Pro Bowls are the third most in Patriots history.

He has had his jersey retired, and is a member of the Patriots Hall Of Fame, the Patriots 35th Anniversary Team, and the Patriots All-Time 1990's Team.

Bruce Armstrong is the best offensive tackle in Patriots history.

Leon Gray was a young two time Pro Bowler who deserves mention. He would get traded, after a salary dispute, to the Houston Oilers and open holes for Hall Of Fame Running Back Earl Campbell.

KICKER : Gino Cappelletti

I easily could have plugged in Gino at WR, but decided to put his versatility here.

Gino Raymond Michael Cappelletti went the long route to the Patriots as a free agent in 1960. After college, Gino went to Canada and played rugby in the Ontario Rugby Football Union until 1956.

He was then drafted, and served, in the U.S. Army until 1958.

Gino then joined the Canadian Football League and played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders. After being cut by the Roughriders, Gino rejoined the rugby league until 1960.

The Boston Patriots and American Football League were born in 1960, and Gino made the team as a 26 year old rookie.

The Patriots made good use of Cappelletti's versatility. He played cornerback and placekicker mainly in his rookie season, intercepting four passes for 68 yards, and scoring 54 points kicking.

He intercepted three passes in one game off of future NFL coach Tom Flores.

Coaching great Lou Saban then moved Gino to wide receiver the next season. Cappelletti responded with his Pro Bowl season.

He caught 45 receptions for 768 yards and eight touchdowns. He also threw the only pass of his career, which went for a 27 yard touchdown.

He led the AFL with 32 field goal attempts and 17 conversions, while making 48 of 50 extra points. He scored a total of 147 points that year, which was a record at the time.

In 1962, Gino scored 98 points kicking, and snagged 34 balls for five scores.

Gino's next season saw him snare 34 passes for two touchdowns, while accruing 101 points kicking. He led the AFL with the AFL with 38 field goal attempts and 22 makes, and made his second All Pro squad.

He led the AFL with 39 field goal attempts and 25 makes in 1964, while scoring 116 points kicking. Gino also had a career best 49 receptions and 865 yards, while finding the end zone seven times.

His 155 total points that year was his career best, and Gino earned his third All Pro team award. Gino's 155 points were, at the time, the second most in Pro Football history, surpassing his 1961 total. Gino Cappelleti was named the 1964 AFL Player of the Year.

In 1965, Gino scored a career high nine touchdowns on 37 catches. His 18.7 yards per catch average was also a career best. He also led the AFL in field goal percentage, and made the All Pro team again.

Gino made his last All Pro team in 1966. He caught 43 passes for six scores, while taking one pass for a career best 63 yards.

The 1967 season was Gino's last year to be used a lot as a receiver. He caught 35 passes for three scores. He caught 13 balls the next season for last two touchdowns of his career.

Gino did catch one pass for 21 yards in 1969, but mainly was used as a kicker.

Cappelletti was 36 years old in 1970, as the Patriots joined the NFL. Used only as a kicker that year, he scored the last 40 points of his career.

He retired after that season with 292 receptions for 4,489 yards and 42 touchdowns.

He is still third in Patriots history for career receptions and yards.

His 1,130 points were a Patriots record until Adam Vinatieri surpassed it in 2005.

His jersey was retired by the Patriots, and he is a member of the Patriots 1960's All Decade Team, and the Patriots Hall of Fame.

Gino Cappelletti is a symbol of determination, perseverance, and versatility.

He is the only player to have averaged 7.5 points a game over an 11 year career. He once averaged 9.6 points a game over a six year period, which no other player has ever done either.

His 1961 and 1964 seasons still rank in the top 10 for the most points scored in a season. The fact that Gino accomplished these feats in 14 game seasons make it even more impressive.

Gino led the AFL in scoring five times, which is tied for the most times ever that a player has led a league in scoring.

He led the AFL in scoring four consecutive seasons, which is the second best streak in pro football history.

Gino is the only player in the history of professional football history to to run for a 2 point conversion, throw a pass for a 2 point conversion, catch a pass, intercept a pass, return a punt and a kickoff in the same season.

He is tied with Hall of Famer Lance Alworth for the most career points scored in AFL All Star Games, and is one of only two AFL Kickers to kick at least four field goals in a game for three consecutive games.

He is the second player in AFL history to have picked off 3 passes in a game, and set the AFL record by scoring 28 points in a game.

He has attempted the most field goals in Patriots history, and is is amongst the AFL's all-time top ten receivers in yards and in receptions.

He accomplished this during a ten year span where the Patriots played on four "home" fields throughout the New England area, making his accomplishments even more amazing.

Nicknamed "The Duke" by his team mates, Gino often teamed up with Patriots legendary QB Babe Parilli. This connection was dubbed the "Grand Opera."

Gino is one of only three players to have played in every game of their franchises games while a member of the AFL, and one of only 20 to have played in every game in AFL history.

The fact that he has not yet been inducted into Canton reeks of NFL envy.

As I have stated in past profilings of AFL greats, there is an obvious exclusion of AFL players by the NFL.

I keep screaming that this is the PRO Football Hall Of Fame, NOT JUST the NFL H.O.F.!

Gino Cappelletti should have been inducted into Canton years ago!

It is up to us fans to remind the voters that the AFL counts, was important, and should never be forgotten. No matter how hard they seem to try.

Adam Vinatieri, John Smith, and Tony Franklin all were Pro Bowl players and deserve mention.

Vinatieri is the Patriots leader in points scored, surpassing Gino by 28 points in his last year in New England in 2005.

Smith is still ranked third on the teams scoring list, and is best known for the snow plow incident in a 1982 win versus the Dolphins. Smith played in the first American football game he ever saw with the Patriots, the only known player to have even done so in NFL history.

PUNTER : Rich Camarillo

Camarillo is the only punter in Patriots history to be named to the Pro Bowl, an honor he garnered in 1983.

He joined the Patriots as an undrafted free agent rookie in 1981, and punted 45 times in nine games. One punt went 75 yards, which led the NFL.

He punted in nine games in 1982, due to the players strike, and had a career long 76 yard punt on 49 attempts.

Camarillo led the NFL with a 70 yard punt, on 81 attempts, and was named to the Pro Bowl squad. He led the NFL with a 75 yard punt in 1985, as well as leading the NFL with 3,953 yards punted. His 44.6 yards per punt that season was a career best.

The 1986 season was a rough one for Camarillo. He had a career high three punts blocked, which led the NFL. He left the Patriots after the 1987 season to join the Los Angelos Rams for one season.

Camarillo joined the Phoenix Cardinals in 1989, and led the NFL with a punting average of 43.4. He was named to the Pro Bowl Team for his efforts.

He returned to the Pro Bowl in 1991, and would accomplish this honor up until the 1993 season. He attempted the only extra point of his career in 1992, and missed.

Camarillo joined the Houston Oilers in 1994, and led the NFL with a career best 4,115 yards on a career high 96 punts. He left the Oilers after the 1995 season, and joined the Oakland Raiders for one game in 1996. After accumulating no statistics in that game, he retired.

Camarillo averaged an impressive 42.7 yards per punt on 1,027 attempts, and ended up with 43,895 yards in his career.

His five Pro Bowls are the second most by any punter in NFL history.

He once punted the ball eleven times in a game during the 1984 season, which is tied as the most in Patriots history for a single game. His 479 yards yards punted that day is a Patriots record.

His career average of 44.5 yards per punt in the playoffs is still an NFL record, and his 279 punts inside the 20 yard line was a record when he retired.

His 468 punts for 19,922 yards are easily the most in Patriots history.

Shawn McCarthy's 93 yard punt in 1991 is the third longest in NFL history, and deserves mention.


Raymond Clayborn may be the best kickoff return specialist in Patriots history, returning three for touchdowns on just 57 attempts over three seasons, but we have him rightfully at cornerback on this team. Hobbs is now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, so he wins this spot.

Hobbs returned one kickoff 108 yards for a score, which is an NFL record.

In his first two years in New England, Hobbs returned just 25 kickoffs. He took one for a 93 yard score.

He became the primary returner in 2007, and scored on his record setting jaunt. He also returned a fumble recovery for a score as a cornerback.

The 2008 season was his last as a Patriot. He has a career best 1,281 yards on 45 attempts. He averaged an excellent 28.5 yards per return, and scored on a 95 yard return.

His 2,913 career return yards are the second most in franchise history, and 1,031 yards behind Kevin Faulk. His 105 returns is tied for third most in franchise history with Dave Meggett, and 70 less than Faulk's franchise leading 175 returns.

His career average of 27.1 yards per return is the best in franchise history for anyone with over thirty career returns, and his three touchdowns is tied with Clayborn as the most ever in Patriots history.

Meggett, Larry Garron, Faulk, Mack Herron, Bethel Johnson, and Jon Vaughn all deserve mention as well.

Though this is a very tough spot to pick, I gave it to Hobbs. Almost by default, considering the Patriots have never had a kickoff return specialist excel over a long period of time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The ALMOST All-Time New England Patriots Defense

Nothing has come easy for the game of football when it comes to the New England area.

It always has seemed to take a backseat to baseball, basketball, and even hockey.

They had their first professional football franchise in 1929, when the Boston Bulldogs came to town.

The Bulldogs were actually the Pottsville Maroons, the 1925 NFL Champions who had their title stripped from them in a controversial move by the league.

Though the Chicago Cardinals were handed the 1925 championship, the owners refused to accept the award then. The Cardinals owner now, Bill Bidwell, unfortunately is said to be proud of the trophy. He has blocked all attempts by NFL historians to right the wrong perpetrated by the NFL then, and re-establish the Maroons as the rightful champions.

They had moved to Boston for financial reasons, but only lasted one season before folding.

The Boston Braves were formed in 1932, but soon moved to Washington D.C. because of the lack of support from the community.

They were a team that featured three Hall Of Fame members, and played their games in Fenway Park.

After losing in the 1936 NFL Championship Game before a sparse crowd, owner George Preston Marshall moved the team out of town. They are now known as the Washington Redskins.

The Boston Yanks came to town in 1944, and struggled to gain a fan following. They left for New York after the 1948 season.

The area would not have another professional football team until the 1960 season.

The American Football League was starting out, and the Boston Patriots were one of their charter teams.

The Patriots did enjoy rather early success, making it to the AFL Championship in 1963.

They also had a tough time gathering a following and a consistent home field.

They bounced all around the New England area, and played on four different home fields in just 11 years before settling into Foxborough Stadium in 1971. Their owner, Billy Sullivan, was determined to make professional football work in the area. His perseverance was a fortunate happening for the entire community.

The Patriots have been competitive each decade of their existence. They appeared in their league championship game in each decade except the 1970's. That decade saw them win one division title, but fall short of reaching the title game.

The 2000's have been the best decade the franchise has ever had. The Patriots have won three Super Bowls in four appearances. Their success this decade has them joining the local hockey franchise, as far as title appearances go. Some might go as far to say that their popularity may have passed all professional franchises in the area.

We start first with the defense, because the area is well known to be the countries first line of defense when the nation was first born.

Remember - This list, as the title implies, consists of players who aren't, nor maybe never will be, members of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE : Houston Antwine

Houston Antwine was a third round draft choice by the Detroit Lions in the 1961 NFL Draft, the 38th player picked overall, and an eight round draft pick of the Houston Oilers in the AFL Draft.

When the Oilers traded his rights to the Boston Patriots, Antwine joined the the team.

Though Antwine was still recovering from an injury he suffered at the College All-Star Game, the Patriots first put him at offensive guard. They eventually switched him to defensive tackle during his rookie season. It turned out to be a smart move.

Antwine would be named to an All Pro from 1963 to 1968. He garnered these honors despite having to face multiple blockers on virtually every play.

He was named to The Sporting News All-AFL First Team in 1969, as well as the Associated Press All-AFL Second Team.

Antwine had an injury plagued 1971 season, and was only able to play three games.

He joined the Philadelphia Eagles the next year, then retired at the conclusion of the season.

Antwine was a wrestling champion in college, and his expertise on leverage and technique made him a dominating force. He was also a team leader, and was the Patriots captain and player representative throughout most of his career.

Antwine is a member of the All-Time All-AFL First Team, but is somehow not in Canton. This is confusing, since Buck Buchanan of the Kansas City Chiefs is and Buchanan is on the second team.

Another confusing factor is how the Patriots have yet to retire his jersey, and especially the fact he has not been inducted into the Patriots Hall Of Fame thus far.

His six Pro Bowls is tied with Hall Of Fame Cornerback Mike Haynes as the most ever by a Patriot defender, and it is the third most behind Hall Of Fame Guard John Hannah and Center Jon Morris.

His 39 career sacks are tied with Richard Seymour as the most ever in franchise history.

Houston Antwine is easily the best defensive tackle in Patriots history.


Jim was drafted in the sixteenth round by the Saint Louis Cardinals in the 1960 draft, the 181st player picked overall. He would be cut by the Cardinals in training camp.

The Patriots called Hunt to join the team later in the year, and he joined them less than an hour before the kickoff of a game. He ended up playing six games that season, and recovered a fumble.

Hunt became a huge force in the AFL the next year, and was named to the Pro Bowl.

During the 1963 season, he intercepted a pass and motored 79 yards for a score. His teammates nicknamed him "Earthquake" because of that play.

Hunt returned to the Pro Bowl in 1966, and he also scored on a 51 yard fumble recovery return that season.

He was named a Pro Bowler once again the following season, as he recorded a safety.

In 1968, Hunt led the AFL with four fumble recoveries for 51 yards.

Jim made his last Pro Bowl appearance after the 1969 season, then retired at the conclusion of the 1970 season.

Hunt was a versatile player who played all defensive line positions in his career. He was lauded as the fastest pass rushing defensive tackle at one time in his career, as well as being called the best pass rushing defensive tackle in the AFL in the 1967 season..

He has a nose for the football, and set the AFL record for 14 career fumble recoveries. He also had at least 34.5 sacks in his career.

Jim Lee Hunt's jersey number was retired by the Patriots, and he is a member of the Patriots 1960's All Decade team and Patriots Hall Of Fame.

He is certainly one of the best defensive players to have ever worn the Patriots uniform.

The Patriots have annual award named in his honor, which is awarded to the top lineman on the team.

DEFENSIVE END : Larry Eisenhauer

Larry was the Boston Patriots sixth round draft pick in 1961, the 42nd player chosen overall.

He started in his rookie season, and was named to the New York Daily News All-AFL Second Team. He then would be named All Pro from 1962 to 1964.

After the 1965 season, Eisenhauser returned to the Pro Bowl in the 1966 season.

Larry was hurt in the ninth game of the 1967 season, and was only able to play eight games the following year.

After stating in 13 of the 14 games he played in 1969, he retired.

Eisenhauser was known to be a bit of an eccentric, and was nicknamed "Wildman" by his teammates.

He once ran out into Municipal Stadium, in Kansas City, wearing only a helmet and jock strap after a snow storm.

Larry Eisenhauser is a member of the Patriots 1960's All Decade team.

Julius Adams was Pro Bowl players worth noting.


Bob was a nineteenth round draft pick of the Washington Redskins in 1955, the 220th player chosen overall.

After serving in the military due to the Korean Conflict, Dee joined the Redskins in 1957. He left the team after the 1958 season to coach at his Alma mater Holy Cross

He decided to give pro football another try in 1960, when the Boston Patriots and American Football League were born.

Dee would score the first points in AFL history, when he recovered a fumble in the end zone during an exhibition game. He also would intercept the only pass of his career that season, returning it 14 yards.

Dee made his first All Pro Team in 1961, then would attain that honor again in 1962 to 1965. He retired after the 1967 season to pursue other interests away from the game.

Dee never missed a game his entire time with the Patriots, and started in all 112 games. He wore the same helmet, due to superstition, for 105 of those games.

His jersey number is retired by the team, and he is a member of the Patriots 1960's All Decade team and Patriots Hall Of Fame.

Bob Dee might be the best defensive end in the teams history.

LINEBACKER : Tom Addison

Tom was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the 12th round of the 1958 NFL Draft, the 141st player chosen overall.

He elected to not play pro football until 1960, when he joined the fledgling Patriots. He ended up playing eleven games in his rookie year.

Now firmly entrenched as the Patriots starting OLB on the left side, he made his first Pro Bowl in 1961 after picking off four balls.

He would be named to the Pro Bowl up until 1964.

His 1962 season saw him intercept a career high five passes, and he returned one for the only touchdown of his career.

Addison intercepted four balls then next season, then two more the following year.

He would intercept one pass in 1965, the last of his career

He then would retire after the 1967 season, after sustaining a career ending knee injury in the eleventh game of the season.

Addison is a member of the Patriots All-AFL Team, and he is also noteworthy because he was the first president of the AFL Players Association.

His package of player benefits and insurance was crucial to the AFL surviving and competing with NFL, which would later force the NFL to merge the two leagues.

As a player alone, Tom Addison is one of the finest linebackers in the teams history.

LINEBACKER : Steve Nelson

Steve was a second round draft pick by the Patriots in the 1974 NFL Draft, the 38th player chosen overall.

He ended up starting in nine of the eleven games he played in his rookie season at ILB on the left side. He would play this position his entire career as a full time starter.

Nelson picked off his first two career passes the next season, then would miss four games because of injury the following year.

Nelson continued to be a stalwart in the Patriots defense, intercepting a career high five balls for 104 yards in 1978.

He made his first Pro Bowl in 1980, as he intercepted three passes.

Nelson then had a few seasons where he was affected by injuries. He missed four games in 1981, and eight games in 1983.

He returned to the Pro Bowl in 1984, then attained the honor again the following season.

After missing 11 games, because of injury, the next two seasons, Nelson retired after the 1987 season.

Steve Nelson is a member of the Patriots Hall Of Fame, and his jersey number has been retired by the team.

He is probably the second best MLB on Patriots history, behind Hall Of Famer Nick Buoniconti.

Johnny Rembert was a fine ILB, and two time Pro Bowler, who deserves mention. Sam Hunt is a member of the Patriots 35th Anniversary Team, and also deserves a nod.

LINEBACKER : Willie McGinest

Willie gets this spot, even though he played just five of his twelve years with the Patriots as a linebacker.

He was New England's first round draft pick in 1997, and was the fourth player chosen in the draft.

McGinest was broken in slowly during his rookie season at OLB, starting seven games. He also contributed 4.5 sacks for the team.

The best season of his career might've been in his second year. He had a career best 70 tackles, and a career best eleven sacks.

New England moved McGinest to defensive end before the 1996 season, and he responded by having his first Pro Bowl season. He had his first career interception, returning it for a 46 yard touchdown. He also scored on a fumble recovery return, and had 9.5 sacks.

His next two seasons were bereft with injuries, and he missed 12 games total.

He rebounded strong in the 1999 season, collecting 51 tackles. It is the only other season, besides 1998, when McGinest exceeded the 50 tackle mark in his career.

McGinest also scored a touchdown off a fumble recovery that year, and had nine quarterback sacks.

The Patriots were improving as a team during this time. In the 2001 season, they made the third Super Bowl appearance of the franchises history, and won for the first time.

McGinest earned his last Pro Bowl nod in 2003, as McGinest would score on a 15 yard interception return. The Patriots would go on to win Super Bowl XXXVIII that year, then would then win Super Bowl XXXIX the next year.

McGinest was moved back to OLB that season, a position he manned the next five years.

The 2005 season was Willie's last in New England, and he went out strong. During a Patriots playoff win, he set an NFL record with 4.5 sacks in one playoff game. This gave him a career total of 16 playoff quarterback sacks, which is also currently the NFL record.

After being cut by New England because of salary cap issues, he signed with the Cleveland Browns.

Though he would miss seven games over three years with the Browns because of assorted injuries, he pitched in eight sacks and an interception over that time.

Though McGinest has not officially retired from the game, it is expected he will do so soon.

He was a very good player, and one of the better pass rushers in Patriots history.

STRONG SAFETY : Lawyer Milloy

Milloy was drafted by the Patriots in 1996, a second round selection and 36th player picked overall.

He ended up starting ten games in his rookie year, intercepting two passes and getting a quarterback sack. The Patriots would go on to Super Bowl XXXI that season.

In 1998, he had a career high 6 interceptions, and scored the only touchdown of his career on an interception return. Milloy would be named to the Pro Bowl for this first time in his career as well.

He garnered this honor the next year, after getting a career best 91 tackles. He also had four interceptions and two sacks.

In 2001, Milloy returned to the Pro Bowl. The Patriots would go on to win Super Bowl XXXVI.

Milloy's last year in New England was 2002, and he made his last Pro Bowl that year as well.

After a contract dispute with the Patriots, Milloy signed with the Buffalo Bills. He played there three seasons, then signed with the Atlanta Falcons in 2006. He played with the Falcons for three seasons as well.

Lawyer Milloy was very solid in run support, and his four Pro Bowls are the most by any Patriots safety.

Roland James, who has the second most interceptions in Patriots franchise history, got strong consideration for this spot. Larry Whigham deserves mention, because he made the Pro Bowl.


Ron was a 28th round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1959 NFL Draft, the 331st player chosen overall.

He made the Steelers team for two games that year, and was able to intercept a pass, return a kickoff, and return five punts.

After not playing in 1960, he joined the Boston Patriots for the 1961 season. He quickly worked his way into the starting lineup and intercepted two passes.

Hall scored the only touchdown of his career the next year, when he took one of his three interceptions for a score.

He intercepted three more balls the next season, and was named to the Pro Bowl. The Patriots would make it all the way to the AFL Championship Game, before losing to the San Diego Chargers.

The 1964 season saw Hall pick off a career best 11 passes. He was named First Team All-AFL that year.

After swiping three passes the following season, Hall had six picks for a career best 159 yards in 1966. He took one ball a career long 87 yards, which led the AFL.

Hall's 1967 season will injury plagued. He was able to intercept one pass in the nine games he suited up for that year. He then retired from the game. He had at least one interception in each year he played.

When he retired, his 29 interceptions were the most in Patriots history until Raymond Clayborn passed that total in 1987. It now is the second most ever.

His 11 interceptions in 1964 are the most interceptions by any Patriot in a single season.

Though he might get forgotten by some, but Ron "Haystacks" Hall may be the best safety ever in Patriots franchise history.

Fred Bruney deserves mention. His two Pro Bowls are the most by a Patriots FS. Fred Marion and Tim Fox were also Pro Bowl players worth noting. Marion is tied with Hall and Roland James for having the second most interceptions in Patriots history.

CORNERBACK : Raymond Clayborn

Raymond was the first draft of the Patriots in the 1977 draft, the 16th player chosen overall.

New England used him mainly as an extra defensive back in his rookie year, choosing to use him mostly as a kick returner, though he did start two games and recorded the only safety of his career.

Clayborn exploded all over the NFL by scoring three touchdowns on 28 kickoff returns. His three kickoff return touchdowns in one season is a Patriots record, and tied for the second most in NFL history.

His 31 yards per kickoff return average led the NFL, and is in the top ten for rookies in NFL history. His 101 yard return that season also led the NFL.

Clayborn was a full time starter the next year, and would remain so the rest of his career. He intercepted four passes, and returned kickoffs for the last time of his career. He returned 27 balls at a 23.6 yard average.

He became one of the noted lock down cornerbacks over the next two seasons, when he intercepted five passes in each year.

Clayborn earned his first Pro Bowl in 1983, despite not having any interceptions.

The 1984 season saw Clayborn gain a career high 101 yards on three interceptions, including a career long return of 85 yards.

He returned to the Pro Bowl again in 1985, after having a career high six interceptions. One went for a touchdown.

His leadership helped propel the Patriots to an appearance in Super Bowl XX, where he recovered a fumble in their loss to the Chicago Bears.

Clayborn made his final Pro Bowl game in 1986, and would remain with the Patriots until the end of the 1989 season. He scored the last touchdown of his career in 1987 off of a missed field goal.

He signed with the Cleveland Browns that year, and started 13 games. Though he did not have an interception that year, he formed an impressive cornerback duo with Frank Minnifield for Cleveland.

After starting and playing in one game in 1991, he retired.

His 36 career interceptions with New England is tied with Ty Law as the most ever in franchise history. His 555 interception return yards is 28 less than Law's franchise leading total.

Raymond Clayborn is a member of the Patriots All-1970's, All-1980's, and 35th Anniversary teams.

It is confusing why he has yet to be inducted into the Patriots Hall Of Fame, because he might be the best defensive back in the teams history.


Ty was the Patriots first round draft pick in 1995, the 23rd player chosen overall.

He started in seven of the fourteen games he played in his rookie year, and intercepted three passes and had a quarterback sack.

He starter in 12 of the 13 games he appeared in the next season, and had three more interceptions. He took one for a touchdown. Law had three swipes the following year.

Law led the NFL with nine interceptions in 1995,and was named to his first All-Pro Team and Pro Bowl. He also scored again.

After having two picks over the next two seasons, Law was named to the Pro Bowl in 2001 after getting three interceptions and two touchdowns.

The Patriots would go on to win Super Bowl XXXVI that year.

Law made the Pro Bowl in each of the next two seasons, getting ten total interceptions and a touchdown.

The 2003 season saw Law get three interceptions in the AFC Championship Game, which allowed the Patriots to go on and win Super Bowl XXXVIII.

The Patriots repeated as Super Bowl Champions the next year, though Law missed 12 straight games because of injury.

The Patriots then cut Law because of salary cap issues, so he signed with the New York Jets for the 2005 season.

He led the NFL with a career best ten interceptions that year, as well as a career high 195 return yards. He also scored a touchdown on a career long 74 yard return.

Law then joined the Kansas City Chiefs the next year. He picked off four passes. After picking off two passes the following season, the Chiefs cut him.

He returned to the Jets for 2008, playing in seven games, but failed to intercept a pass for the first time in his career. The Jets then cut him at the end of the year.

Law currently has 52 interceptions and seven touchdowns in his career.

He had 36 interceptions for 583 yards and six touchdowns in ten seasons with the Patriots, all of which lead the franchise in those categories.

Ty Law is a member of the Patriots All-1990's Team, and is certainly one of the best cornerbacks in the teams history.

Chuck Shonta, Don Webb were both excellent players who started out at CB, then later made the Pro Bowl at Free Safety. Leroy Mitchell, Maurice Hurst, Ronnie Lippett, and Dick Felt also deserve mention.

PUNT RETURNER : Irving Fryar

Irving was the first player to be chosen in the 1984 draft, and the first wide receiver to ever attain this honor, when the Patriots selected him.

The Patriots brought him along slowly as a receiver his rookie year, as he caught 11 passes and scored once.

New England decided to use him as their primary punt returner, and he had 36 returns at a 9.6 yards per return average.

He led the NFL the next season with a 14.1 yards per return average, on 37 attempts. He also led the NFL with two touchdowns, as well as a career best 85 yard return.

Fryar also caught 39 passes, scoring seven times, at a 17.2 yards per catch average. He also rushed the ball a career high seven times, and scored the only rushing touchdown of his career.

He was named to his first Pro Bowl, and the Patriots would go on to appear in Super Bowl XX. It would be the only time Fryar played in the Super Bowl in his career.

Fryar caught 136 passes for 19 touchdowns over the next four seasons, including a career long 80 yard reception.He also was starting to get used less as a punt returner.

He took 131 punts for 1,188 yards and a touchdown. He would return the last two punts of his career in the 1991 season.

The 1990 season was the year Fryar established himself as a top receiver. He caught 54 balls that year, and had 68 the following year for 1,014 yards.

He then had 55 in 1992, and joined the Miami Dolphins the next season.

He returned to the Pro Bowl that year, after catching 64 balls for 1,010 yards. He went back to the Pro Bowl the following year after getting 73 balls for 1,270 yards.

Fryar joined the Philadelphia Eagles in 1996, and went back to the Pro Bowl after snagging a career best 88 passes for a career high 11 scores.

He made his last Pro Bowl the next year, after gaining a career high 1,316 yards on 86 receptions. After collecting 48 balls the next year, the Eagles released him.

Fryar joined the Washington Redskins in 1999, and was used mostly as a third receiver over the next two years. He caught 67 balls, while scoring seven times.

He retired after the 2000 season with 851 career receptions and 80 receiving touchdowns.

Fryar caught 363 passes for 38 scores with New England over nine seasons, but he made a tremendous mark as a punt returner too.

He had 206 returns at a solid 10 yard return average, while scoring three times.

He is ranked second in franchise history in returns and return yards behind Troy Brown, while being tied with Brown for having the most punt return touchdowns in Patriots history.

Brown, Dave Meggett, and Hall Of Fame Cornerback Mike Haynes deserve mention.