Patriots receiver Julian Edelman knew he was going to break out in Super Bowl LIII

Leave a comment

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — It’s late Saturday morning six days after the greatest football day of Julian Edelman’s life, and you can feel L.A. here in his West Coast residence. Through a broad window on the second floor of Edelman’s bright and art nouveau home off Sunset Boulevard, a billboard a few blocks above traffic to the south screams an ad for Sunday’s Grammy Awards. Apt. Edelman would be a Grammys presenter.

It’s pretty unbelievable, Edelman being a beautiful person in Hollywood right now, on the red carpet with Drake and Lady Gaga.

You know where Edelman was 10 years ago this week? Trying to re-invent himself at a well-worn gym in Euclid, Ohio, for an NFL roster shot, maybe going to some team’s camp as a scrappy receiver, running back or safety. His more likely options: trying out as an option quarterback in Canada for the B.C. Lions … or becoming a fire-fighter in Cincinnati.

You know where Edelman was five months ago this week? In exile in Boston, separated from his team by a four-game PED suspension, working out at the Boston Celtics facility after dawn and then simulating the Patriots practices he was missing on football fields at Harvard and Boston College.

You know where Edelman was one week ago? Posing as the Super Bowl MVP with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

You know where Edelman was four days ago? Getting his foresty nine-month-old beard shaved on national TV by Ellen DeGeneres, to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston.

Been quite a week, year, decade. But there’s a reason Edelman, 32, is the perfect Patriot. He’s already talking about winning a seventh Super Bowl, when the sixth still hasn’t sunk in.

Ten catches (eight for first downs), 141 yards. MVP numbers in the Super Bowl. Edelman would have been surprised, honestly, if the day produced much less. In his previous 11 playoff games, he caught 10, 8, 9, 9, 10, 7, 8, 8, 5, 9, and 7 passes from Brady.

Edelman: “Did I think I’d have 10 catches? Going into the week, with the game plan we had, and how they played defense and going against [Rams defensive coordinator] Wade Phillips a few times … the running back or guys in my position have a lot of catches. You go in thinking that there’s a possibility you could have a game. With a solid week of practice, two weeks of practice that we had, I felt great. Confidence was high. Thinking on it right now, I wasn’t surprised. The MVP? Didn’t really think about that. Didn’t really think that that was gonna come to fruition.”

But he had a game-week conversation with McDaniels in which, according to Edelman, the coordinator said to him: “You’re going to have to perform well for us to win.” Edelman didn’t have a signature catch, but he did convert four catches into first downs on Rams ace corner Aqib Talib. But Edelman did say he’s got too much in front of him as a player to back-pat about the MVP.

“Down the road, when I’m having a beer in Tahiti when I’m 44 and my daughter’s running around on the beach, that’s when I can probably sit back and think about that,” he said.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America by clicking here

Two teams are set to dominate the 2019 NFL Draft: Patriots and…the Raiders?

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The owner of the 2019 NFL Draft? Oakland, with rookie GM Mike Mayock, who counts Bill Belichick as one of his best friends in football.

The power broker, potentially, of the 2019 NFL Draft? New England, which will have the ammo to move up, down and sideways—and Belichick has always loved wheeling and dealing on draft weekend.

The Raiders have four picks in the top 35. The Patriots have one pick in the top 55. But that’s a misleading part of the story. There’s great depth in this draft from pick 25 to 100 and even deeper, some scouts at the Senior Bowl thought. So there could be fine value in the Patriot picks when they are slated to choose five times in a 45-pick span from 56 to 101.

Raiders and Patriots picks in the top 110 overall choices of the draft, as of today:

• New England: 1st round, 32nd overall; 2-56; 2-64; 3-73; 3-97^; 3-101^

• Oakland: 1st round, 4th overall; 1-24; 1-27; 2-35; 3-66; 4-106

^ Projected compensatory picks for the losses of Nate Solder and Malcolm Butler in free agency, as calculated by Over the Cap’s Nick Korte.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America by clicking here

Bengals coach Zac Taylor has had no time to process the Rams’ crushing Super Bowl LIII loss

Leave a comment

Don’t you always wonder what it’s like for a man to coach in the Super Bowl, then, a day or two later, get introduced as the new coach of Team X? It’s crazy. Happened twice last week. The Patriots found it odd that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was in their Atlanta lobby at 9 a.m. Monday, 5.5 hours after the Super Bowl victory party ended, to ferry new coach Brian Flores (ex-Patriots defensive coordinator) to south Florida to be introduced as coach Monday afternoon. Zac Taylor had a few more hours to get his family to Cincinnati. The former Rams quarterback coach’s introductory press conference was Tuesday.

So it was interesting to hear Taylor’s reaction over the weekend when I asked him: “How disappointing was it to play the way your offense played in the Super Bowl?”

“I haven’t had a chance to process it, quite honestly,” he said from Cincinnati. “There just hasn’t been time. I haven’t watched the game. Honestly, I’m conflicted. It’s devastating to work so hard to get to the championship game, and for your entire team to pour everything they’ve got into it, and then to lose like that.

“But five or six hours after the game, I’m on a plane to Cincinnati, on the way to fulfill a dream I’ve had for so long—to be a head coach in the NFL. And then your brain goes there. It’s just … it’s just the way it is, and you’ve got to turn the page.”

There was some discomfort in his voice, bordering on pain. It’s easy to sit back and say, Buck up, buddy. You’re about to make millions to coach a football team. True, but if you’ve been a football coach for a while, and you help your team get to the Super Bowl, regardless of the outcome, it’s got to be odd to just walk out the door a few hours after the biggest game of all of your lives, no time to process or adjust, and you move on while everyone else wallows.

One other question. I asked Taylor if he’d had much of a chance to consider how close the Rams came to taking a lead with four minutes left in the third quarter, when Jason McCourty, panic-stricken, ran 20 yards in 2.4 seconds (per NFL Next Gen Stats) to bat a decisive touchdown away from Brandin Cooks in the back of the end zone. If Jared Goff was a millisecond quicker with his throw, the touchdown would have given LA a 7-3 lead and put huge pressure on New England. Instead, the Rams settled for a field goal to tie it, 3-3.

Taylor: Sigh.

“In football, you just miss by inch sometimes,” he said. “You can be an inch from … “

Sigh again.

“That’s football in a nutshell. That’s football.”

I thought that would be it from Taylor, but he brightened, as his mentor Sean McVay would have. Taylor continued, “Criticism, pressure, adversity. We want our staff and our players to understand that this is the NFL. This is why you do this job. The energy, the camaraderie, can’t be duplicated, except maybe at the craps table in Vegas when you’re on a roll.”

The Bengals have needed some energy, and an offensive spur. I’m looking forward to seeing what Taylor can provide.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America by clicking here