Decisions But No Solutions for Patriots in 41-14 Loss to Chiefs

September 30th, 2014
The Patriots' 41-14 loss to Chiefs resonated. But there are no answers to go along with it. (John Rieger-USA Today Sports Images)

The Patriots’ 41-14 Monday night loss to the Chiefs resonated. But there are no answers to go along with it. (John Rieger – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Decisions and solutions are separate entities.

That was seen over an hour before 8:30 kickoff on Monday night, as head coach Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots penciled only three wide receivers in to face the Kansas City Chiefs. Second-year pros Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins saw their names on the deactivation list in favor of rookie halfback James White, reserve linebackers Deontae Skinner and Chris White, and safety Don Jones for depth and special-teams purposes.

It marked fourth time that the two route-runners did not suit up for the same game this season. And it marked the first time that neither Dobson, a 2013 second-round pick, nor Thompkins, a 2013 undrafted free agent, suited up for a game this season.

After working in tandem for 69 receptions, 985 yards and eight touchdowns as rookies, Dobson and Thompkins have accounted for just seven receptions and 66 yards over split time in 2014. Concerns with their ability to get open quickly against the Chiefs was likely part of it. Only that reasoning falls short of justifying it.

All reasoning fell short of justifying what happened thenceforth on both sides of the ball. Dobson and Thompkins could not have prevented what transpired at Arrowhead Stadium, where the temperatures climbed over 80 degrees and the noise over 140 decibels; where the team’s offensive line was set to start two rookie fourth-round picks in Bryan Stork and Cameron Fleming; where the Patriots would soon unravel in the darkest performance of the Belichick and Tom Brady era.

Something should have been different. Perhaps everything should have been. Read the rest of this entry »


Patriots Gameday Notes to Monitor Monday Night vs. Chiefs

September 29th, 2014
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Kansas City halfback Knile Davis has forged his way in the absence of Jamaal Charles. New England will face them both on Monday night. (Stan Liu – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Three years have passed since the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs last met. It was Nov. 21, 2011, a Monday night, at Gillette Stadium.

Then-rookie Patriots halfback Shane Vereen registered his first NFL touchdown, while part-time cornerback Julian Edelman turned in his second career punt-return touchdown. In the secondary, a well-traveled cornerback by the name of Philip Adams intercepted onetime Kansas City quarterback Tyler Palko, and Kyle Arrington – donning No. 27 at the time – picked off two more as New England went on to a 34-3 victory.

Much has changed since then. And this time, the venue for what unfolds will be Arrowhead Stadium.

Here are some notes to monitor leading up to the 8:30 p.m. kickoff. Read the rest of this entry »


Film Room: Chiefs’ Pass Rush Presents Sudden Test for Patriots

September 26th, 2014
The Chiefs’ front line is set to rush the Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday night. (NFL Game Rewind)

The Chiefs’ front line is bracing to face the Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The Kansas City Chiefs have brought quarterbacks to the ground for nine sacks this season. Come Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium, it will be up to the New England Patriots’ offensive line to keep that number at nine.

Through three games, the unit has conceded seven.

It is a group that is still searching for answers. Tom Brady has been under pressure on 37 percent of his dropbacks. He has completed 42 percent of those passes. And he has been hit five times in the process of attempting them, which currently stands as the most in the league, all according to Pro Football Focus.

As of now, New England’s offensive line isn’t on pace to give up the 40 sacks it did in 2013. But a week after seeing Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack beat left tackle Nate Solder to the edge on his way to colliding with quarterback Tom Brady, some of the pass protection’s darkest moments have come on plays that do not end in a loss of yards.

The next opportunity to avert the trend is against a fast Kansas City front, bordered by veteran stand-up linebacker Tamba Hali. Read the rest of this entry »


Saturday Slate: Week 5 College Football Prospects To Watch

September 26th, 2014

NEPD Staff Writer: CJ Sousa

Party of one, you may be seated Mississippi State. In what is by far the best division in college football (SEC West), Mississippi State finally deserves to sit at the contenders’ table.

The Bulldogs owned week 4 by going into Death Valley and beating #8 LSU and ending their 14 game losing streak against the Tigers. MSU QB Dak Prescott threw for 268 yards and 2 touchdowns, while also beating the Tigers on the ground with 105 yards and 1 touchdown. While that upset was going on, another one was brewing.

Read the rest of this entry »


Potential Patriots: LB Denzel Perryman

September 24th, 2014

NEPD Staff Writer: Adam Bogdan

Continuing my Potential Patriots series, I decided to look at Miami’s middle linebacker Denzel Perryman based on the feedback from readers.

The Patriots have certainly struggled this year against the run at times, and their linebacking corps may be one of the shallowest positions on the team. While Jerod Mayo and Jamie Collins have exceptional athleticism, and with Dont’a Hightower becoming a pass rusher, there lacks a physical presence in the middle of the defense that can stuff the run with ferocity and fearlessness. That is what Perryman can do.

Read the rest of this entry »


Scouting Report: Benardrick McKinney, ILB/OLB Mississippi St. vs. South Alabama

September 24th, 2014

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Week 3 of the college football season lacked the high profile matchups that we were lucky to have in the first 2 weeks. There were some exciting games, like a certain rivalry game in the state of Iowa (editor’s note: BOOOO), and some exciting players that were on display.

Bernardrick McKinney is a guy that I have been intrigued by purely from a height, weight, and speed perspective. I had very little exposure to him up to this point, but I had heard some good things about his game and I wanted to check it out for myself.  It was a mixed bag for me of both good and bad, and some things that I just didn’t expect, so lets break it down a little further.

Read the rest of this entry »


Five Throws: Revisiting the Role of Patriots Tight End Tim Wright

September 24th, 2014
Tim Wright's role in New England's offense remains uncertain. But there are glimpses.

Tim Wright’s role in New England’s offense remains uncertain. But there are glimpses. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

On Aug. 26, the New England Patriots traded six-time Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a fourth-round pick and second-year tight end Tim Wright. The first three weeks of the regular season have since passed, and the addition of the converted Rutgers wide receiver has remained a subtle one.

It wasn’t expected to be. The manner in which Wright arrived and Mankins departed was far from it, but there was a belief that the 6’4”, 220-pound target would be able to add a different dynamic. There was a belief that, while not a blocker of the same caliber as Brandon LaFell, Wright would carve a purpose as an offline receiver in New England’s offense.

He still could. Read the rest of this entry »







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