Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

Saturday Slate Week 11: College Prospects to Watch

Friday, November 7th, 2014
Jaelen Strong burned the Irish for 8 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown last year.  Can the electric Junior do it again?

Jaelen Strong burned the Irish for 8 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown last year. Can the electric Junior do it again?

NEPD Staff Writer CJ Sousa

Week 11 could prove to be the most significant weekend of the college football season. So many crucial games this weekend will impact the college football playoff race, as well as conference races nationwide. Without further to due, let’s dive into the top matchups to be watching as well as a quick top 10 mock draft to see where we stand after 10 weeks.

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Brandon Browner’s Value to the Patriots Illustrated vs. Broncos

Friday, November 7th, 2014
Brandon Browner's game remains unchanged, and both sides of it were illustrated against the Broncos in Week 9. (NFL Game Rewind)

The physical game of Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner remains unchanged. And both sides of it were seen against the Broncos in Week 9. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Brandon Browner’s brand of football may be going extinct. But despite the NFL’s points of emphasis on illegal contact, holding and pass interference, and despite the seven flags he has drawn through three games this season, his brand has remained the same.

The 30-year-old cornerback is not letting it go without a fight, a tug, or at least a shove.

“I’m not going to change my game. I’m not going to let it bother me,” Browner said as training camp opened in July. “I’m going to force them to make the call. I’m going to try to stay aggressive. That’s what got me here.”

Those words have rung true. The brand that got the 6’4”, 221-pound journeyman to the New England Patriots is not unlike what got him to Oregon State, the Denver Broncos, the Calgary Stampeders and the Seattle Seahawks. It’s physical, glaring, and in a sense, ugly.

It’s supposed to be. And the reason why was explained against the Broncos in Week 9. (more…)


How Patriots ‘X’ Receiver Brandon LaFell Has Marked His Spot

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
Brandon LaFell’s rise has provided the Patriots with the element of unknown. (NFL Game Rewind)

Brandon LaFell’s rise has provided the Patriots’ passing game with the element of unknown. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Brandon LaFell was targeted six times in his first two regular-season games as a member of the New England Patriots. And, heading into his third game of September, the former Carolina Panthers third-round pick had zero catches to his name.

He’s had 36 over the seven games since.

It’s been both a gradual and sudden rise for the 6’3”, 210-pound wide receiver; one that arrived along with the surveillance of his three-year, $9 million contact last March. Organized team activities proved to be about familiarization for him, and that continued through the summer as he looked to find a home on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium.

Route miscommunications and concentration drops were the unintended consequences of a journey that sent him from the NFC South to the AFC East. The 28-year-old had to acclimate to the ball placement of quarterback Tom Brady instead of Cam Newton, and he had to acclimate to his own placement in the offense of coordinator Josh McDaniels instead of Mike Shula.

It required repetition. (more…)


Saturday Slate: College Prospects to Watch in Week 10

Friday, October 31st, 2014

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NEPD Staff Writer CJ Sousa

All hail Amari Cooper. Granted the Tennessee pass defense isn’t exactly the 2001 Patriots, but nonetheless the star junior receiver caught 9 passes for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns. He ran crisp routes, snatched the ball out of the air, and boy can he run after the catch. A night to remember for Cooper.

SEC Spotlight: I’ve been a fan of Mississippi State RB Josh Robinson for some time now, and I think he’s finally getting some of the recognition he deserves. Against a good Kentucky front 7 Robinson ran for 198 yards and 2 touchdowns, including two of the most impressive runs I’ve seen all year. He shows great balance, vision, and eye discipline consistently. He averaged over 8.5 yards per carry; that should say it all.

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Without Chandler Jones, Three Patriots Tasked with Role of One

Friday, October 31st, 2014
New England called upon Dominique Easley, Akeem Ayers and Zach Moore to encompass Chandler Jones’ responsibilities in Week 8 against the Bears. (Winslow Townson – USA Today Sports Images)

New England called upon Dominique Easley, Akeem Ayers and Zach Moore to encompass Chandler Jones’ role against the Bears. (Winslow Townson – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The New England Patriots have been without Chandler Jones for only one game thus far into the 2014 campaign.

That one game saw the front seven send three different players out to succeed the role of one.

Dominique Easley, Akeem Ayers and Zach Moore – each of whom brought their own traits to the defensive rotation. Each of whom brought forth their own third to replace the snaps of a player who had logged 417 through seven contests, per Pro Football Focus.

Only it hinged on more than volume for them in Week 8 against the Chicago Bears; it hinged on how they encountered their alignments, and how they left their impact within them. (more…)


Five Away: Charting Tom Brady’s 30-of-35 Performance vs. Bears

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
Tom Brady played a complete game against the Bears on Sunday, even though he didn’t finish it. (Winslow Townson - USA Today Sports Images)

Tom Brady played a complete game against the Bears on Sunday, even though he didn’t finish it. (Winslow Townson – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Efficient and prolific are seldom seen in the same sentence.

Tom Brady was both against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. The 37-year-old quarterback operated a short-tempered New England Patriots offense with brevity on the way to completing 30 passes for 354 yards and five touchdowns.

In doing so, the 14-year pro crossed all three passing thresholds for the third time in his career and first time since 2007, according to Pro Football Reference.

Brady could have crossed more had he stayed in for the final 5:15, only New England’s collective performance at Gillette Stadium did not require him to. The offensive line preserved ground, the rushing committee gained ground, and the defense broke ground, affording second-round quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a call from the bullpen with a 25-point lead in hand.

And with that, after 68 snaps of command, No. 12 headed to the dugout just shy of pitching all nine innings. He headed off without that final strikeout to seal it all into memory. But he didn’t need it; Brady’s 100th regular-season start in Foxborough was a near-perfect game to those who saw it.

Five incompletions over his 35 attempts were all that stood in the way. (more…)


Patriots Gameday Notes to Monitor Sunday Afternoon vs. Bears

Saturday, October 25th, 2014
The last time the Bears traveled to Foxborough, Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammad got the starts out wide. Eight years have since passed, and it will be Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall this time. (Dennis Wierzbicki - USA Today Sports Images)

The last time the Bears traveled to Foxborough, Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammad got the starts out wide. Eight years have since passed, and it will be Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall this time. (Dennis Wierzbicki – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Eight years have passed since the Chicago Bears last visited Gillette Stadium to face the New England Patriots. The date was Nov. 26, 2006, and the final score was a Patriots’ 17-13 victory, but the game itself has been remembered for what transpired with 11:34 to play.

It was then, with the score tied at 10 apiece, that Tom Brady took a 3rd-and-9 snap from shotgun and felt the pocket collapse. He ran. And four seconds later, he juked, heading right as eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher headed left.

The one-on-one gauntlet ended in a first down, and ultimately a touchdown.

Much has changed since then. Urlacher is now awaiting immortality in Canton, Brady is now 37, and Chicago’s roster is no longer headlined by the likes of halfback Thomas Jones, wideout Bernard Berrian, D-lineman Tommie Harris, deep man Nathan Vasher or return man Devin Hester.

As for New England’s roster, suffice to say tight end Ben Watson will not be leading the team in receiving this time around.

Things will be different on both sides of the ball when the 3-4 Bears and 5-2 Patriots encounter each other in Foxborough at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Here is a closer look at what to monitor when the two do. (more…)







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