Do math and science support Patriots’ claims they’re not cheaters?

Physicists from Harvard and Columbia, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Bill Nye have called it unlikely that the Patriots' footballs shrunk on their own. But did they check their work?

According to scientists at Carnegie Mellon and MIT, Mother Nature really may be to blame for the Pats' latest cheating scandal.

From the New York Times:

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NFLPA will provide its own forecast of 2015 salary cap

The NFLPA continues to believe the NFL is lowballing the 2015 salary cap estimate at $138.6M-$141.8M. In response, the players' union plans to release its own estimate next month, ahead of the national combine.

It's a legitimate concern for the players, as the league has consistently underestimated salary cap forecasts in the past. The initial predictions for 2014 had the cap around $126M, but the final number was significiantly higher, at $133M.

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Mail: Do the Broncos need to acquire more mobile linemen?

Questions on zone blocking have been pouring in. There’s no question that it has advantages for Denver, whether Peyton Manning stays or not. The question for today is whether we should expect Denver to begin a change to more mobile linemen.

The answer is, not necessarily. I see that as a good thing.

In Dennis Hooper’s March 2009 article on inside zone blocking, he laid out what you want in a zone blocking lineman. Here’s what he listed (I've numbered his bullet points):

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Broncos hire Joe Woods as secondary coach

The Broncos announced on Wednesday the hiring of Joe Woods as their defensive backs coach. Over the past 11 seasons, Woods has held that same position in Tampa Bay (2004-05), Minnesota (2006-13), and Oakland (2014).

Woods, 44, has apparently not worked with Wade Phillips or Gary Kubiak before; in Minnesota, he worked under Leslie Frazier; in Tampa Bay, he worked under Monte Kiffin and tutored Raheem Morris, who was his assistant secondary coach.

Broncos hire Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator

The Broncos have brought back Wade Phillips to be their defensive coordinator, it was announced on Wednesday. In his first Denver stint, Phillips coordinated the Broncos defense from 1989 to 1992 and took over as head coach for two seasons after the firing of Dan Reeves.

He was something of a placeholder head coach for Mike Shanahan, who turned down the head job in 1993 but returned two years later. According to various reports, Phillips may again be taking a temporary position, as Vance Joseph's contract in Cincinnati will be up after 2015.

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Mail: Will the Broncos return to a pure zone blocking scheme?

One of our readers recently emailed us with several questions relating to the likely offensive line and system under new head coach Gary Kubiak. We'll address them one by one over the coming days and weeks:

Do you believe we will be going back to a pure ZB scheme? - Kevin

It’s a great question, Kevin, and one that's on the mind of most Broncos fans. The short answer is yes, in degree. But, I think that we’ll see more than that.

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Perry Fewell won’t be facilitating a Broncos hire of Vance Joseph

The Broncos can forget about Perry Fewell stepping in as a replacement for Vance Joseph in Cincy. The former Giants DC is reportedly heading to Washington, where he'll take over as secondary coach for the departed Raheem Morris. As Jeff Legwold told it, Denver had hoped the Bengals might allow Joseph to become the Broncos' DC if Cincy could in turn hire Fewell as a replacement.

Instead, it now looks like the Broncos will turn to either Wade Phillips - who was/is interviewing today and may keep the seat warm for a year until Joseph's Cincy contract expires - or former Falcons head man Mike Smith.

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Bill Nye demonstrates why Patriots are full of hot air

Wade Phillips may be placeholder DC for Vance Joseph

If the Broncos can't pry Vance Joseph away from Cincinnati, they may just have to wait out the last year of his contract. According to multiple reports, Wade Phillips is interviewing for Denver's DC vacancy on Tuesday. Alex Marvez suggests Denver may hire Phillips for the 2015 season, with the intent of making Joseph their DC in 2016, and shifting the Son of Bum to an advisory role that year.

Joseph coached defensive backs for the Texans from 2011 to 2013, when Gary Kubiak was head coach and Phillips was DC.

Real scientists deflate Belichick’s lesson; locker-room attendant implicated

Over the weekend, Bill Belichick called an impromptu presser, during which punched back with an apparent strong defense of his team and his own legacy. There was a My Cousin Vinny reference, defense of the prior so-called Spygate cheating scandal, and loads of pseudoscience.

Pats Nation got all lathered up, thinking the hooded one had put his latest allegation to rest (as if they needed any convincing). Here was Belichick's science lesson from Saturday:

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