Schein's Nine: Belichick piecing together title team

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Adam Schein

Adam Schein hosts the "Sirius Blitz" on Sirius NFL Radio from 11-3 ET. He also co-hosts "Loudmouths" on Sports Net New York every weeknight at 6 ET. He is a weekly columnist, files weekly video reports and makes NFL picks "video style" for

In this week's edition of the Schein Nine, we give Josh McDaniels some not-so-friendly advice, name the most underrated move of the offseason, make our first set of fantasy football predictions, aggravate Steelers fans and so much more ... 1. It's Bill Belichick's world Tom Brady is on target for a full, healthy season. The New England Patriots have had the best free agency period of any team. Bill Belichick is the best coach in football. It adds up to the Pats clearly being the team to beat in the NFL this year. And we haven't even hit April. Think about where New England struggled last year. The Pats had issues running the ball and stopping the forward pass. So Belichick makes the brilliant move of bringing in veteran RB Fred Taylor, who has a lot of gas left in the tank. In talking to Taylor, he raved about meeting Belichick and will do whatever the coach wants. Remember, Taylor, while hurt last season, had a sensational season in 2007. He's been an excellent player throughout his career, only to get overshadowed playing in Jacksonville. Look for Taylor to get 10-15 carries a game for the Pats and help give Brady balance on offense. Belichick then addressed the cornerback position by signing Shawn Springs. But it's the Leigh Bodden move that has piqued my interest. Bodden is a playmaker. After a strong run in Cleveland, he was lost in the madness of the Lions' 0-16 season, finding himself as the nickel back to start the season after Matt Millen smartly (did I just write that?) traded Shaun Rogers for him. This is a player who had 6 picks, 15 pass break-ups, and 88 tackles in 2007 for the Browns. I love the fit for Bodden in New England. The Pats lose wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, but get better with Joey Galloway. And in classic Bill Belichick fashion, the Pats cleared cap space in the Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel trades. And they got their fourth Day 1 draft pick in the process by obtaining Kansas City's second-rounder. It gives Belichick options. With a first-round selection and three picks in Round 2, Belichick has the ability to trade up or down. And you know how Belichick masters a war room. With picks and new financial flexibility, they have the option to make a move for an impact veteran on or before draft day. The perfect player who fits that description is Carolina's disenfranchised DE Julius Peppers. And despite reports to the contrary, I believe the Pats are still sniffing around Peppers, at the right price contractually. And worse case scenario, they ink Jason Taylor. It's good to be king, right? And the greatest quarterback on the planet is back. And Randy Moss and Wes Welker still collect paychecks. Oh — did I mention the Pats still have the best defensive line in football and linebacker Jerod Mayo is a star after just one season? Scary, isn't it. 2. Get a jolt from Holt I can't listen to another person say 33-year-old wide receiver Torry Holt is past his prime. The only reason his numbers went south last year was because the offensive line couldn't pass protect. Before last season, Holt had six straight seasons of 90 or more catches and eight consecutive seasons of 1,000 receiving yards. He could help the Vikings, Eagles, Titans and Giants take the next step. These are the four teams that should make a play right now. 3. Try again, Josh I've never seen a head coach foul up a situation more than what Denver's Josh McDaniels did with Jay Cutler.
But he still can make it right, if he stops reading Eric Mangini's notes from the Bill Belichick playbook. To me, McDaniels had one move. The new Denver coach had to sit in a room with Cutler over the weekend and simply tell him that yes, he tried to trade for Matt Cassel. But then he needed to say he was wrong, sorry, and they need to win Super Bowls together. Telling the franchise quarterback that he will always look to improve the club was not the play. McDaniels needed to tell Cutler he was his guy, let's grab a coffee, and draw plays together. Instead, the neophyte coach botched the situation. Badly. Cutler wants out, demanding a trade. He's a young star who hasn't reached his full potential. McDaniels, a quarterback guru, was hired to maximize him. There is absolutely no deal Denver can make where the Broncos come out on top. And for that, you solely blame McDaniels. Which is why, and maybe I am the last person on the planet who believes this, McDaniels needs to realize the seriousness of the situation, call Cutler into his office and read from my script above. Make Cutler feel wanted. Do it today. It's only your job at stake. 4. 81 = 10 I've been a Terrell Owens critic for years. He's a headache, a distraction and creates a culture that flies in the face of winning with his me-first attitude. With that said, I think the Bills made a great move bringing No. 81 into lovely Western New York. Look — there's a major boom or bust quotient attached to the move. It's easy to conjure up the scenario where Owens starts chewing out poor Trent Edwards when he looks Lee Evans' way, the season unravels and the Bills win six games to finish in last place in the AFC East. But then there's the upside ... Owens, love him or hate him, is still a great player. T.O., Evans, Roscoe Parrish and the underrated Josh Reed form an excellent receiver mix. I believe in Edwards, who was playing great football last year until he got his clock cleaned in Arizona, an injury and a game that derailed a promising season after a 5-1 start. Factor in RB Marshawn Lynch and this offense is going to be explosive. And the Bills made Owens happy by guaranteeing the $6.5 million for this year. And they kept him motivated by giving him just the one season.
But most especially, Dick Jauron is the right man for the job. When we talked last week, Jauron said he knows the history, but he's much more interested in the player who he would rather play with than against. Jauron's even-keel, "protective of his players in the press" approach is perfect for Owens. It should add up to 10 wins and the Bills finally getting back to the playoffs. 5. Win, Win That's the only way to describe the trade between the Seahawks and Lions, with Pro Bowl linebacker Julian Peterson going to Detroit for defensive lineman Cory Redding. Peterson is a home state guy who gets to the quarterback. Redding fills a major need for the 'Hawks. And linebacker Leroy Hill is a great talent who can account for Peterson's lost sack totals. But be careful eliminating LB Aaron Curry from Detroit's radar atop the draft. The Lions will pick either Curry, or offensive tackles Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe. And don't be stunned if the Seahawks turn to pass-rushing freak Brian Orakpo in the draft to ensure the pressure remains intense on the quarterback. 6. T.J and L.C. In separate conversations with T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Laveranues Coles, both sounded giddy about their new landing spots. Here's some early fantasy football advice — grab them both. Houshmandzadeh sounded a bit chippy that he didn't get more play on the open market. And he loves Matt Hasselbeck. Coles' enthusiasm for playing with Carson Palmer oozed through my headset on Sirius NFL Radio. T.J. catches 100 balls in Seattle and gets in the end zone 10 times. You read that correctly. Coles totals a minimum of 90 catches in Cincy. 7. Next Jets QB? In the past few weeks, Jets coach Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum have told me on Sirius NFL Radio that they believe the Jets' opening-day quarterback is on the roster. In an exclusive sitdown on SNY airing this weekend, owner Woody Johnson said the same thing. And I'm a Kellen Clemens believer. So why do I still think the Jets will add a quarterback at some point between now and draft weekend? And why do I think it will be Mark Sanchez? 8. For Pete's sake Book it — the single most underrated move of the entire offseason was Atlanta signing linebacker Mike Peterson.

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He's an excellent, hard-nosed player who thrived under Falcons head coach Mike Smith when Smith was the Jaguars' defensive coordinator. Peterson is a tackling machine and an instant upgrade who will pay major dividends on the Atlanta defense. Peterson told us last week that the market wasn't as hot as he imagined during free agency, based upon the conflict he had with Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio. Lock in 100 tackles for Peterson this season. 9. Prime-time picks The league is likely going to announce its Week 1 prime-time games next week at the owner's meetings. Here are the games I want to see:
  • For Thursday night football on NBC, Pittsburgh hosting Tennessee (the AFC title game that was supposed to be Pittsburgh's revenge on the Titans players who disrespected the terrible towel).
  • I'd love to see the Redskins open up Texas Stadium with the Cowboys called by Buck and Aikman on FOX, or as NBC's premiere SNF game.
  • Give me T.O. and Randy Moss for the early MNF game and either Denver hosting Kansas City (Coach McDaniels, you remember Matt Cassel?) or Arizona hosting the Seahawks for the extra-cup-of-coffee nightcap.
  • Tagged: Falcons, Bills, Bengals, Cowboys, Broncos, Lions, Titans, Chiefs, Patriots, Giants, Jets, Seahawks, Redskins, Panthers, Jaguars, Steelers, Mike Peterson, Torry Holt, Randy Moss, Mike Vrabel, Laveranues Coles, Julian Peterson, Terrell Owens, Shawn Springs, Matt Hasselbeck, Fred Taylor, Josh Reed, Julius Peppers, Carson Palmer, Leigh Bodden, Lee Evans, Wes Welker, Roscoe Parrish, Leroy Hill, Matt Cassel, Jay Cutler, Kellen Clemens, Trent Edwards, Marshawn Lynch, Jerod Mayo

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