Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

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

Tuesday, 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. (more…)


Patriots Gameday Notes to Monitor Monday Night vs. Chiefs

Monday, 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. (more…)


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

Friday, 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. (more…)


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

Wednesday, 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. (more…)


Patriots’ Stock Report: Trying to Find a Silver Lining in Foxborough…

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has struggled to find rhythm with his offense this season, getting ready during warm-ups before Sunday’s game. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

NEPD Staff Writer: Ken Vetrano

There’s really no sugar coating the Patriots lack luster beginning to 2014, they’ve underperformed and shown a lack of execution and discipline that’s not typical of Bill Belichick coached teams. New England’s offense can’t get in rhythm, and at this point card board cut outs of last year’s offensive line would be an upgrade to the current cast being shuffled on field. Not much progression has been shown on that side of the ball, and I have a feeling things are going to get worse before they get better.

(more…)


Second Glance: Observations From Patriots’ 16-9 Win vs. Raiders

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
The Patriots walked away with a win against the Raiders on Sunday. But the team remains unsolidified on both sides of the ball. (Winslow Townson - USA Today Sports Images)

The Patriots walked away with a win against the Raiders on Sunday. But the team remains in flux on both sides of the ball. (Winslow Townson – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

They don’t award style points in the NFL. The New England Patriots’ 16-9 win over the Oakland Raiders evidenced why.

The Week 3 home opener at Gillette Stadium netted a total of 10 punts between Oakland’s Marquette King and New England’s Ryan Allen. It saw a total of six field goals between Sebastian Janikowski and Stephen Gostkowski. And by the time defensive tackle Vince Wilfork clung onto his third career interception and the Patriots clung onto the victory, every point in the game had been scored by a player whose last name ended in “-kowski.”

Neither backfield crossed the century mark in rushing. Neither passing game threw for over 235 yards. And combined, the offenses of the Patriots and Raiders converted on just one of six red-zone opportunities.

It wasn’t how it was drawn up. It was, however, more of what it has been for head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots thus far in 2014.

Upon second glance, here are seven observations from Sunday’s tilt. (more…)


Patriots Figure to Hit the Ground Running vs. Raiders Defense

Friday, September 19th, 2014
Stevan Ridley amassed 97 rushing yards and a touchdown over 10 carries against the Raiders as a rookie. (Cary Edmondson - US Presswire)

Stevan Ridley rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries against the Raiders as a rookie in 2011. He will face them again Sunday. (Cary Edmondson – US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

For the New England Patriots’ offense, Week 3 starts on the ground.

The Oakland Raiders have allowed a 32nd-ranked 400 rushing yards through two regular-season games. The unit has conceded five yards per carry, with four carries of at least 20 yards and two of at least 40 yards along the way. (more…)







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