NEPD Mailbag: Patriots Post-Game Edition

@FramCire asks
What is Brian Waters phone number and can we give him a quick call?

555-WE-NEED-U

@ALykins32 asks
@dougkyednepd what grade do you give the rookies for their first in game action? What do they need to work on?

Chandler Jones – A
Jones was the star of the show vs. the Saints and proved to me that he can be a much better pro than college player. He straight dominated Jermon Bushrod at times and was a constant presence in the Saints backfield. Jones should take over Andre Carter’s role admirably.

Dont’a Hightower – B+
Hightower is a revelation on this defense and his football IQ is off the charts. Hightower’s a rookie and played all three linebacker positions in his first game. There were times when he was slightly out of position and times when he needed to wrap up when he was out thumping instead.

Tavon Wilson – B
I thought Wilson played fine from what I saw. The best part about him is that he looks comfortable out there and doesn’t look out of position. He seems to have made the transition from corner to safety very well.

Jake Bequette – B+
Bequette looked better in game than he has in practice. He showed off some nice quickness and change of direction and recorded one of the Patriots two sacks. He’ll make the team and should carve out a nice role by the end of the season.

Nate Ebner – B
Ebner looked ahead of the curve on kickoff coverage and could actually make the team since he’s already taking first team reps in special teams. He’s going to be a liability at safety for a while, but it was impressive in it’s own right that he even got a shot back there on Thursday night.

Jeremy Ebert – B-
It would be tough to give anyone a negative grade based on tonight. Ebert just showed me the least out there. I’ll need to see him in action more, and I’ll be very interested to watch him as a returner.

@TMeltonScouting asks
@DougKyedNEPD Hope you’re going to write an article on the game tonight, want to read about how Mallett looks.

Mallett looked a little rough around the edges on Thursday night. He had a major problem over shooting his targets and his accuracy was really all over the place in general. He was getting rushed pretty heavily out there and his offensive line wasn’t helping him much.

I’m still not convinced that Mallett will be the QB of the future on this team. If Brady really intends to play into his 40s and if he’s still playing at a high level when Mallett’s contract is up, Mallett will have to be very impressive to overtake Brady’s role. I also believe that at some point, Mallett’s value will be too high for the Patriots to not accept the draft picks they’ll be able to get in return. On top of that, when Mallett’s contract is up, they’ll either need to franchise him or pony up big bucks to keep him. That is, if he develops enough to be a starting QB. After watching tonight, he definitely needs some work to get to that point.

@felimalipe asks
@DougKyedNEPD who will become the primary edge rusher this year?

Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones will share that role. Jones has been lining up at RDE, which is usually the spot for the better pass rusher, but Nink was impressive as a pass rusher last year and now that he’s given his SLB duties over to Hightower, he’ll be able to focus on that craft even more. The Pats have some talented pass rushers on this team, and if Andre Carter comes back, it’ll be even more potent. I think we can consider Jermaine Cunningham and Trevor Scott for the chopping block. If the Patriots have Ninkovich, Jones and Carter at DE, that could be one of the best pass rushing trios in the league.

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Tags: Chandler Jones, Deion Branch, Don'ta Hightower, NEPD Mailbag, Shane Vereen

4 Responses to “NEPD Mailbag: Patriots Post-Game Edition”

  1. MaineMan says:

    “Remember, Vereen was drafted before Ridley in 2011. There was a point and time when the Patriots preferred the Cal product.”

    Not buying this.

    Vereen and Ridley are distinctly different types of runners who would likely have different roles in the attack and the Pats probably liked both equally well for what the might be able to do.

    It’s the demand from the rest of the market that determines where the team has to draft a guy, if they want him, not the team’s preference or “ranking”. The Pats wanted Tavon Wilson enough to draft him. That they drafted him in the 2nd was because some other team(s) wanted Wilson, too, and the Pats knew he’d be gone before their next pick, NOT because they “ranked him” specifically as a 2nd round prospect.

  2. Hunter says:

    “If the Patriots have Ninkovich, Jones and Carter at DE, that could be one of the best pass rushing trios in the league.”

    Slow down there Sparky, back away from the Kool-Aid. As much as I love the Pats, I find it hard to anoint, after one preseason game, a rookie, a journeyman switching positions, and a 33 yr old coming off an injury who’s not even on an NFL team, as one of the best pass rushing trios in the league. If you wanted to call them “one of the most unknown pass rushing trios in the league” that would be more accurate.

  3. Dan says:

    I will comment on the Vereen/Bolden order…

    It’s the first game of pre-season…it’s less a game and more of a try out. We have already figured out the basics of this 53 man roster. So, the order in which guys are on the field is not because the coaches are following ridiculous flowchart of depth at each position…they are putting guys in during different situations…challenging them, seeing if they are worth keeping around or not. If not, they have to be working on another plan to find a replacement etc….

    Yes, they are games, and yes, they are trying to win…blah, blah, blah; but, these are big-boy try outs in reality.

    They have to make difficult decisions on players very soon, and they need to know if certain players deserve the practice time also…very important. They are trying to get ready for the season also, so figuring out who may be around sooner rather than later is key.

    They also want to test certain players to see if they can take the heat…take the pounding, like leaving them in there snap-after-snap…see how they play tired. Don’t look at Vereen getting all those carries as some “game plan”…it’s probably BB telling JM to try and wear him out…see what he is made of, the same with many other guys who took a lot of snaps.

    • MaineMan says:

      Yep. It’s all about “situational testing”, seeing what guys need to work on and about easing some guys in to work on their fundamentals at game speed. When they show up in that game – 1st half against the #1s or 2nd half against the scrubs – has little or nothing to do with any mythical “depth chart” stuff.

      If the offense opens a game in five-wide with Hernandez split out and no Gronk, does that make Gronk no longer a “starter”? Has he dropped down the “depth chart” behind Hernandez?



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