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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.

New England Patriots

Patriots Talk: Patriots Shut Out Raiders In Mexico City

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What a day for the Patriots to secure a win in the most Patriot way possible. The game was effectively over before the 2nd quarter ended. The team was dominant throughout the entire duration of the game and it showed. In many ways, there were a number of factors within this game that caused the Raiders to ultimately fold early on in the game

The Altitude Difference

The Patriots had the smart idea to stay in Denver and travel to Colorado Springs to adjust their bodies to the pressures of high altitude. The Raiders took the same approach when they traveled to Mexico City to play against the Houston Texans in Week 11 of the 2016 season. Although, the method worked last year, you can’t deny that there was a lot of outside interference in that game.

This time around, it was very clearly from just the fact that CB Stephon Gilmore and WR Danny Amendola leaving the game due to dehydration showed how taxing the high altitude was on them. The Raiders were arguably worse with their team as they allowed 4 turnovers on the offense yesterdays. The sheer pressure the game put on most of the players was quite significant in this game for both team. But the Patriots ultimately minimzed the effect that it had on them.

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Patriots Football Talk: Patriots Dominance Continues In Mexico

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It was a sunny Sunday at the Estadio Azteca, Mexico’s Premier Stadium, in Mexico City.  The New England Patriots were facing off against the Oakland Raiders in what was called a Road Game.  It was a made for TV experience to draw in a more viewers and fans.  It was the NFL’s way to reach a larger market, that being fans in Mexico City.

The Game showed off the best in the NFL.  And you know what?  The best Team in the NFL showed what it means to be the best.  Of course I’m talking about the Patriots dominating yet another Team.  They continue to out preform their opponents on the field.  It’s something that this year’s Team has grown in to.  From being just a contender to being an all-out reigning champ; this Team has figured out how to be great.  Today’s game was proof of that!  I’d say they played perfect, but they didn’t get the shut out.  Hey you can’t have everything!

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NFL Talk: Week 11 Picks

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We are finally getting down to the last stretch of the season where teams will finally start to line up where they will make the playoffs and those who will simply tank for the higher pick in the 2018 NFL draft. At this point, most people have teams figured out and know how games should go from here on out. As of now, I got 11-3 correct last week, which puts me at 95-51 for the season.

Tennessee Titans @ Pittsburgh Steelers: Winner – Steelers

At this point in the season, I think the Titans will likely make the wildcard as Jacksonville will run away with the division. The Steelers are pretty much a lock for the playoffs. Their division has the Browns with the worst record in the NFL, and the Bengals and Ravens have fallen off. Even though the game was already played yesterday here was my thoughts before the game:

They are playing the Titans at home and the Steelers defense has been a hack of a surprise for this season. It’s mainly because of how much money was invested into their offense yet their defense has improved substantially from last year. The 2nd best passing defense in the NFL (allowing only 181.8 passing yards per game) and 11th against the run (allowing 102.7 rushing yards per game).

The Titans will have some serious difficulties holding the Steelers down while they are playing at home. Despite the Titans not having a bad team by any stretch (they have the 6th best rushing defense in the NFL), this is the Steelers game to lose and thankfully after what we have seen, that isn’t alot. Steelers won by 40-17 and my prediction was they would score 27-20. (Titans couldn’t even get me that)

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Cleveland Browns: Winner – Jaguars

If the Jags somehow throw this game away I will be so done with predicting their games this season. The Browns are a team that needs a massive overhaul and I don’t see it being enough for them to win this game. The Jaguars will win this game 24-21 with Blake Bortles somehow almost throwing the game away. Almost.

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