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Patriots Talk: Results Of The Patriots Off Season So Far

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Patriots Talk: Results Of The Patriots Off Season So Far

This week will mark the end of the New England Patriots activities and the official wrap up of the third phase of the off-season program for all teams. The team won’t be officially taking the field in Foxboro again till late July The next time the team officially takes the field will be at the start of training camp in late July. (between either the 21st-30th)

And with this conclusion, the Boston media and NFL analysts have seen what the Patriots are currently capable of. And we have learned who stands out, who struggles and those who are still unknown. Here is what has been seen in the Patriots’ OTAs:

The Stand Outs

Tom Brady: Unsurprisingly, Tom Brady has shown no real decline in his game. The average onlooker wouldn’t be able to tell if this Brady was any different from how he was 5 years ago or maybe even 10. His hard work ethic and overall dedication to perfecting his play is evident. Brady is reaching the age of 40 by next month, but many so far don’t see how he doesn’t continue to play at a high level come September. Brady’s arm strength in particular is still in top form. This can likely be thanks to thanks to his quarterback coach, Tom House, former relief pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners. House has been a long time coach within both baseball and football and has worked out with several NFL quarterbacks such as Drew Brees, Andy Dalton and Matt Ryan just to name a few. Brady’s relying on his technique and footwork have been a key development over the years as he has become more focused on his longevity.

Rob Gronkowski: So far, Gronk hasn’t missed any practices during the OTAs. This is a massive relief to anybody that is on the Patriots roster. Gronk being a 100 percent means he will be making a potential comeback in 2017 that we will likely not see coming if he lives up to his new contract.

Brandin Cooks: So far has been a big standout. His speed and overall route running have been a sight to see at OTAs, but the biggest worry coming into it was his connection with Tom Brady. Transitioning from a future Hall-of-Famer like Drew Brees is seemingly a pretty huge thing when ti comes to the best Quarterback of all time in Tom Brady. He has been taking on the team head on and has been the first one in front during the practice drills.  He was together with Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan the most out of any three-receiver sets.

Jonathan Jones: He is currently the most likely candidate to fill in the cornerback position as nickelback. With Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler already locked in as the two top cornerbacks coming into this season, it a fight for the third spot. Jones, was brought in out of Auburn as an undrafted free agent and initially many didn’t expect him to get as far as he has. His opportunity coming into 2017 season could be a huge stand out year for him.

Ones With Struggles

With how many injuries the team has taken, this could be a list in of itself. Players like Dont’a Hightower, among others, wasn’t at 100 percent during OTAs. Players who didn’t fully participate include: Hightower, receiver Malcolm Mitchell and safety Duron Harmon. This means that they could be possible candidates for PUP list at the start of July training camp if they don’t have any updates after this.

In a addition, backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a leg injury during practice and will likely be put onto the PUP for awhile.  Defensive players Kony Ealy and Lawrence Guy have missed practice time, so their situations will likely be important going forward. Especially since Ealy and Guy will likely be important to the pass rush going forward as the only real factor for a pass rush was with Trey Flowers.

Cyrus Jones has been a big concern as he has continued to struggle at special teams again in OTAs. He will likely be a big concern for this as he was put out of the season when he made to two huge errors during the Patriots-Ravens game last year. At this time, it seems he will more likely be pushed to practice squad if he doesn’t improve by much as he has snaps at nickelback but it seems he will likely be only a backup at best with this current time.

THE UNKNOWN

Alan Branch was the only player didn’t have any attendance at OTAs this year. The team still had 100% of the team attended for mandatory minicap, there was no signs of Branch at voluntary workouts. This wasn’t a shock to the team since Branch has never attended a voluntary workout over his career. Instead, Branch choose to stay in his home in Arizona for the beginning of the offseason. Whether his physical condition upon return will be enough to pass the conditioning test will be very critical as he was the main support for the Patriots run defense last season.  His time spent not with the team could be an important factor moving forward.

For the rest of the team, the interior offensive line depth is important. Right now, Ted Karras will be getting significant work this season behind starting center David Andrews as his backup. As for the overall depth, the only players not part of the starting lineup are guards Chase Farris and Jamil Douglas. Both players only made the practice squad last year, and their development is critical in the event of injury to starters Joe Thuney (who made all rookie team at his position last year) and Shaq Mason. Even though the players are well maintained, it is clear that the team is thin at their offensive line and how this could effect things moving forward with their long time QB in Tom Brady is something to be careful of.

Overall, the team has shown alot of positives but there is much that will need to be done come July. Players that stand out are going to need to be prepared for when the team has joint practices with the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars on August 15th and 16th.

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Patriots Football Talk: Blowout in Foxborough

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It was another cold January night at Gillette Stadium.  But on the field what we saw was an Offense on fire.  The Patriots were playing their, now annual, AFC Divisional Playoff Game.  Yes, that’s right they do this every year!  They have won their Division 9 Straight Times.  They have earned a 1st Round Bye 8 straight times.  And they have played in the AFC Conference Game, ah hem, now 7 straight times.  Yes it has been quite a run.  In Saturday Night’s Game against Tennessee, the Patriots, showed some of the best that the Team had to offer.  As you can see by the title of this post, it was a blowout.  One for the history books!  Let’s get right into the play by play action.

Ok, so it was cold, we know that; but did you see the “Scuba Suit” that Tom Brady was wearing?  Yeah he came prepared to play all 60 Minutes.  Now the Patriots got the ball first at Kickoff and they only had one 1st Down before they had to Punt it.  It was a slow start before the “Fireworks”.  On their next possession Brady just missed an open Rob Gronkowski.  It would have been a big play if Brady didn’t throw it at his shoelaces.  He was wide open and uncovered at the line of scrimmage. You could tell right then and there that the Titan’s Defense had some communication problems.  As Tony Romo commented: “They looked discombobulated.”

Then the longest Drive allowed by the Patriots came.  The Titans went 95 Yards down the field from their own end zone to score.  It was a Touchdown pass by Marcus Mariota to Corey Davis [7-0].  The long Drive ate up most of the clock of the 1st Quarter.  And the Titans looked strong.  But man oh man, did they “awaken a sleeping Dragon.”

The fire was lit under the Patriots and they responded with a huge 2nd Quarter.  They went down the field with several heroic plays by Dion Lewis.  Then James White came in for a 5 Yard pitch and catch TD [7-7].  3 Minutes and 37 Seconds later James White would score another TD, this time on the ground [14-7].  White would end up having 3 Carries for 11 Yards with a Rushing TD, and 4 Receptions for 29 Yards with a Receiving TD.  It was just some excellent “Hurry Up” Offense.  See the Patriots knew that the Titans were using the same Defensive Line.  And as Tony Romo noted throughout the game, they were getting worn out and tired.  The “No Huddle” Offense proved to be New England’s best weapon against a strong Defensive Line.

Later in the 2nd Quarter Brady threw a 4 Yard TD to Chris Hogan [21-7].  Once again Dion Lewis was a huge factor in the Drive.  Lewis would wind up with 15 Carries for 62 Yards and 9 Receptions for 79 Yards.  Another stellar game for him.  The Pats wanted to score again before the Half but Steven Gostkowski missed a 53 Yard Field Goal.  Let’s face it, it was difficult to make in these conditions.

The Patriots would show an impressive Defense in the 2nd Half.  They would go on to Sack Mariota 8 times for the game.  One of those huge Sacks came on Tennessee’s first possession.  It was just what the Patriots needed.  A stop, to get their Offensive Juggernaut back on the field.  They would end up scoring again on a 2 Yard TD Rush by Brandon Bolden [28-7].  One of the key play makers of the Team was Danny Amendola.  Who had 13 Targets 11 Receptions for 112 Yards.  He was sensational!  Then towards the end of the 3rd Quarter Brady threw to Rob Gronkowski for a 5 Yard Touchdown [35-7].  Gronk would get targeted 9 times with 6 Receptions for 81 Yards with a TD.  It was now “officially” a blowout!

Tennessee would score another touchdown but it was in “garbage time”, ie at the end of the game.  [35-14] was the final score and with that the Patriots moved on to their next opponent Steelers/Jaguars for AFC Championship at 3:05 pm next Sunday.  Tom Brady had a heck of a game, going 35-53 Passes for 337 Yards with 3 TDs.  He is now the oldest player to win a NFL Playoff Game, at age 40.  And with this win it became New England’s 26th Playoff Win out of 35 Playoff Appearances.  Wow what a great number, 35!  Congrats Pats!  I can’t wait to watch you next week!

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Patriots Talk: The Rift Within The Patriots Is Overblown

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New England Isn’t Fazed By This News

 

Talking about this subject reminds me of how Deflategate, SpyGate, and many other news reports seemingly jumped on the Patriots. In fact, some reports have been very mixed about the latest ‘bombshell’ from ESPN’s Seth Wickersham. On one hand, the piece goes over many details that come from sources that aren’t named. The writer for the article, Wickersham, has done pieces like this before regarding the NFL. He has been a senior writer for ESPN for years now. Wickersham has stood by his sources in a radio interview he did last week:

 

I think the reporting process in a story like this has to remain as confidential as possible. I was as transparent as I could be in the story.

 

Transparency is one thing but the thing here is that he had gotten this story from multiple sources inside the Patriots organization, ranging from staffers, coaches and even players. However, by not naming the people involved in this report, you also will be criticized because many will suggest you are making these up.

 

But criticizing the writer is not the topic of this article. It’s to report that this is all been blown way out of proportion. To the point, that some writers have stated they believe Belichick will coach the New York Giants next season due to Robert Kraft interfering in the Jimmy Garopollo trade last October.

 

Who Is Stuck In The Middle?

 

Here is where I believe that article is right and wrong. The writer is correct in that the Patriots had some serious decisions to make regarding the Garropolo trade but that was not even close to the main issue. Many have gone as far to suggest that Kraft had made this decision personal which Kraft has denied and called ‘total fabrication and fiction’ multiple times since the report was released. When he was asked about the trade deadline and Jimmy G, Kraft told Peter King of Sport Illustrated:

 

I assumed once the season started, we’d talk again at the end of the season about it. The next time I spoke with Bill about it was the Monday before the trade deadline. Bill asked me if I was OK with this. I was really taken aback a little bit. I wanted to think about it. I talked to Jonathan, who was okay with it, and I called Bill back and said, ‘OK.’

 

The ESPN article was mainly centered around owner Robert Kraft, Had Coach Bill Belichick and star Quarterback Tom Brady. The three have filed  a joint statement regarding this article, staying they are ‘united.’

 

 

But one of the most interesting sides to this story, is regarding Tom Brady’s personal trainer and business partner, Alex Guerrero. From ESPN:’

 

New players felt the surest way to earn Brady’s trust was to join Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola and others by seeking advice from Guerrero at his TB12 clinic — and not team doctors, which Belichick preferred … But according to multiple sources, players openly discussed with Patriots coaches, staff and trusted advisers whether to follow Brady or the team, leaving them trapped: Do we risk alienating the NFL’s most powerful coach or risk alienating the NFL’s most powerful quarterback?

 

This right here is just way exaggerated. Brady and Belichick don’t let egos divide players, these are grown men, not children trying to please the teachers. They will follow what will best suit their interests and just follow the Patriots motto ‘Do Your Job.’ Simply, asking advice and ways to improve performance and seeing what will work shouldn’t have to be complicated unless you players are questioning their own life choices.

 

How Much Is This True?

 

Everyone outside of New England has been eager in seeing the Patriots finally falling off, but the latest reports claim that Brady, Kraft and Belichick will have a meeting with each other after the season is officially over. According NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport:

 

But my understanding is [the marriage between Kraft, Belichick and Brady] is expected to continue past this season. First there is Bill Belichick, under contract for several more years and Belichick came out and said he absolutely believes he’ll be the Patriots coach next year and from what I understand I don’t see any situation where Robert Kraft allows anything besides that. Then there is Tom Brady. Of course, he is also under contract, he is never getting traded from the Patriots he is going to retire there, so it’s really on these three guys to come together after the season, figure it out and move forward.

 

So by all accounts, Belichick is not likely leaving because of what he has built in New England, Brady is still under contract till 2019, and Kraft isn’t suddenly handing the reigns to his son Jonathon Kraft, President of The Kraft Group. So this story will contnued to be addressed but don’t expect this story to hurt the PAtriots moral. At this point, the team is just focused on beating the Tennessee Titans at home on Saturday’s matchup at 8:15 PM EST.

 

 

 

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Patriots Talk: Terry Glenn’s Autopsy Discovers Multiple Substances

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Reports Show Alcohol and Marijuana In His System

It’s been almost three months since the news of Terry Glenn’s death hit the NFL like a storm. We see deaths everyday outside of sports but his death unexpected. He had been out of football for almost a decade and he died at the young age of 43.

Terry Glenn died on Nov. 20th of last year in a fatal car accident on a highway in Irving, Texas. At the time, there was some hesitation in the report due to the fact that the report was coming from TMZ Sports. However, multiple reports have come forward that verify that the autopsy report was accurate.

According to the report, Glenn had an blood alcohol level of .165, which is twice the legal limit to drive. On top of that, they found traces of marijuana in his system. This would have contributed to his losing control on the highway that resulted in his death.

His passing has been one that has seemingly been forgotten as Glenn is now buried in Dallas, Texas. His public memorial was held at the Friendship West Baptist Church on December 1st, 2017. He played for 12 seasons in the NFL, he played for the New England Patriots from 1996 till 2001.

Glenn is survived by his fiancee, Verina LeGrand, his mother Denetta Glenn, his four sons; Terrance Jr., Christian, Tatum, Greyson; three daughters, Natalie, Samantha and Vanessa; two stepdaughters, Paxstyn and Vyviene; his sister, Dorothy; and most of his extended family from Ohio and across the country.

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