Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

Legion of Boom: 2014 Prospects Who Fit the Super Bowl Champs Prototype

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Calvin Pryor isn’t as big as Kam Chancellor but brings the same intensity and hard hitting ability as the Seahawks safety (Photo: US Presswire)

By Marc Sluis, Staff Writer

While Super Sunday was anything but in terms of being an entertaining and competitive game, it might have answered an age old question. Which is better, a dominant defense or potent offense? If you take the Seahwaks victory as a barometer it seems the prior. That’s certainly what most of the media would have you believe in the immediate aftermath of the game, a time where overreaction trumps reality. That being said it’s clear that the Pete Carroll led defense in the Pacific Northwest utilized a particular blueprint to counteract the rise of the passing game. Like any successful scheme it relies on the personnel available, but what gets Carroll and GM John Schneider league wide respect is the process they followed to build a team around a philosophy.

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Examining Patriots’ Reserve/Future Contract Signings

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

New England signed former Notre Dame, Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens halfback Jonas Gray on Jan. 6. Others have joined him under the reserve/futures category since. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

With a dozen players set to hit unrestricted free agency March 11, the New England Patriots personnel department has its share of influential decisions to make this offseason. But with nine others signing reserve/future deals this January, the to-do list has gotten a little lighter for head coach Bill Belichick and Co.

Reserve/future signings occur before the start of the League Year. Any player not on an NFL team’s active roster at the end of the previous season is eligible. And in New England’s recent memory, it’s been a worthwhile course of action.

New England’s notable reserve/futures from the past include fullback James Develin, defensive tackle Armond Armstead, as well as current Arizona Cardinals pass-rusher Marcus Benard, Oakland Raiders wideout Andre Holmes, Houston Texans linebacker Jeff Tarpinian and Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ross Ventrone.

Some have gone on to have success in Foxborough; some have gone on to have success elsewhere. So while it remains to be seen where this year’s group will end up, all of whom have a locker and an opportunity. (more…)


2014 NFL Draft Close-Up: Texas Tech Tight End Jace Amaro

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury, a 2003 Patriots draft pick, optimized the versatility of Jace Amaro this fall. And since then, No. 22 has emerged as one of the premier tight ends in the 2014 NFL draft. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

In the coming weeks and months leading up to the 2014 NFL draft, NEPatriotsDraft.com will profile college prospects that potentially fit the needs and draft seating of the New England Patriots. In this second installment, we will take a closer look at the film behind Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro.

Jace Amaro isn’t fused to one position on the football field. But if there was a title suited for Texas Tech’s 21-year-old junior, it would be called “new-age” tight end.

An evolving position across the NFL landscape, coaching staffs are finding ways to mismatch defensive personnel with tight ends that can catch first and block second. In turn, general managers and scouting departments are searching for prospects with the size, the fluidity and the skill to be used interchangeably within an offense.

The 6’5”, 260-pound Amaro fits the prototype. (more…)


2014 NFL Draft Close-Up: Notre Dame Nose Tackle Louis Nix III

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Notre Dame’s Louis Nix III plays with force rarely seen in a nose tackle prospect, and NFL scouting departments have taken note. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

In the coming weeks and months leading up to the 2014 NFL draft, NEPatriotsDraft.com will profile college prospects that potentially fit the needs and draft seating of the New England Patriots. In this first installment, we will take a closer look at the film behind Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix III.

Louis Nix III won’t win a track meet. He won’t run a 40-yard dash in under 5.2 seconds, either. But his 6’2”, 342-pound mass, multiplied by his downhill quickness off the snap, has equaled force for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish defense.

And largely due to his fulfillment of Isaac Newton’s second law, the 22-year-old redshirt junior finds himself ranked as the top nose tackle prospect in the 2014 NFL draft. (more…)


2014 Senior Bowl: South Practice Notes and Wrap-Up

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Coastal Carolina RB Lorenzo Taliaferro stood out at the Senior Bowl

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

The last day of Senior Bowl practices consisted of split squad practices between Fairhope Stadium and Ladd-Peebles. As I did last night with North Squad, I’ve aggregated my notes on the South Squad to give everyone a basic report on each players progress during the week. Here is my last article while in Mobile and now it’s onto the next step on the NFL Draft train.

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Inside Zone: How the Patriots Run Defense Has Shifted Since the Last Broncos Encounter

Friday, January 17th, 2014

New England’s defensive front has undergone subtle renovations since allowing 280 rushing yards to the Denver Broncos in Week 12. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Rush yards were at a surplus when the New England Patriots defense faced the Denver Broncos ground game in Week 12.

Quarterback Peyton Manning handed the football off to his running backs 47 times, and 280 yards were the byproduct. Fifth-year back Knowshon Moreno had a career day, compiling 224 rushing yards and a touchdown on 37 attempts, while rookies Montee Ball and C.J. Anderson combined for 56 yards on 10 attempts.

Whether it was by design or by accident, the Patriots front didn’t give the record-breaking Manning much of a reason to pass to his assortment of receivers – he totaled 150 pass yards. And while the absence of defensive tackles Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly certainly played a part in the Patriots’ failures there, the woes delved deeper than attrition for the then-31st run D.

Much of it came down to how the scheme approached the inside zone.

That approach has since been altered. It may, however, be fine-tuned once again for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game at Mile High.

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Three Phases of Impact: Revisiting Patriots Linebacker Jamie Collins’ Complete Game vs. Colts

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

The upside of rookie Jamie Collins was clear in New England’s playoff victory over the Indianapolis Colts. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Jamie Collins’ finest NFL performance arrived 17 contests into the New England Patriots season.

It arrived in the divisional round versus quarterback Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.

For the rookie second-round linebacker out of Southern Mississippi, Saturday’s 43-22 victory marked his most complete showing in a Patriots uniform. He played a complete game in quantity – logging all 66 defensive snaps for the first time in his career. And he played a complete game in quality – totaling six tackles, two QB hits, his first career sack and his first career interception.

But it came down to more than reps or statistics for the 6’3”, 250-pound McCall Creek, Miss., native.

It came down to changing the game. (more…)




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