Quick-hit thoughts around the NFL and with the New England Patriots:
1. After Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones turned in arguably the best game in his three-year NFL career last Sunday in Minnesota, the club will continue to explore different ways to use him as a Darrelle Revis-type chess piece along the defensive line. The idea is to exploit potential favorable matchups with a top talent and don’t be surprised if we see something along those lines today with Jones flipping from right to left end in a 1-on-1 matchup against Raiders right tackle Khalif Barnes. It’s something to watch for as we continue to see growth from a budding star.

2. At this time last week, I didn’t think NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would be in jeopardy of losing his job unless sponsors started dropping out. Now I’m not so sure about Goodell’s fate after Friday’s news conference and ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” report on how the Ravens, and the NFL, handled the Ray Rice investigation. There simply has to be some form of accountability for Goodell, and if it’s not his job, what is the accountability? If Goodell ultimately does survive and there aren’t major changes in his role in the disciplinary process, the feeling here is that his credibility, and thus the credibility of every ownership group that employs him, is significantly compromised.

3. One observation since the Patriots’ surprising Aug. 26 trade that shipped captain and locker-room spokesman Logan Mankins to the Buccaneers is that Nate Solder has stepped up to fill some of that off-the-field void. Although maybe not always comfortable in the media-based spokesman-type setting, Solder has seemed to go out of his way to answer on behalf of the offensive line — and taking personal accountability — in …read more